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THE GROWING PHENOMENON OF SCHOOL GARDENS: 
CULTIVATING POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT 



By 

SONJA MARIE SKELLY 



.w *,'*«<•**'• - 



A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL 

OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT 

OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF 

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY 

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 

2000 



■.? A 



Copyright 2000 
Sonja Marie Skelly 



DEDICATION 

I dedicate this dissertation to the schoolteachers in this study and throughout 
the United States who use school gardens. Many of these teachers use school gardens 
with the belief and knowledge that these gardens may enhance the education and 
development of their students. It is through their efforts that this research was 
possible. May their gardens and students continue to grow and flourish. 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

The tasks of carrying out this research project and writing the subsequent 
dissertation would not have been possible without considerable help and support from 
many people. I thank the members of my graduate committee: Dr. Jennifer C. 
Bradley, Dr. Theresa Ferrari, Dr. Tracy Hoover, Dr. Steve Jacob, and Dr. Michael E. 
Kane, who each enhanced the quality of my graduate education and research. I 
extend gratitude to Dr. Jennifer C. Bradley, whose role as mentor and friend has 
sustained me through my graduate experience. I thank Dr. Bradley for giving me 
coimtless opportunities to grow as a professional, educator, and person. I also thank 
Dr. Tracy Hoover for her advice on teaching and research. Her guidance in these 
areas helped me improve professionally and prepared me to help others do the same. 
Enormous thanks go to Dr. Theresa Ferrari who took Dr. Daniel Perkins' place on my 
committee after he left the University of Florida. I extend deepest gratitude to Dr. 
Ferrari for helping me understand many youth development concepts, developing the 
theoretical framework for this study, and editing the first drafts of this dissertation. I 
owe special thanks to Dr. Michael E. Kane, whose constant support of my research 
project and research area means a great deal. I also thank Dr. Kane for offering great 
advice for my graduate experience, professional development, and plans for the 
fiiture. Finally, I am deeply indebted to Dr. Steve Jacob for making me a better 
researcher. It is because of Dr. Jacob's persistence for sound theory, methodology. 



IV 



and analysis, that this research project was a success. I will be forever grateful to 
these five individuals for the time, advice, and support they gave me. 

I thank Carol Keiper-Bennet for taking on the tireless task of entering the data 
collected in this study. I also thank Carol and Tammy Kohlleppel for their friendship, 
advice, and patience with me during the writing of this dissertation. 

I also extend my appreciation to the teachers who participated in this study. I 
thank the parents who let their students participate in this study. Without these 
teachers and students, this research would not have been possible. 

Surviving graduate school is not always easy and would not be possible 
without outside support. I am deeply grateful to Jeff Maggard, whose love and 
constant encouragement helped me through the even the most difficult times. There 
are not enough words to express how thankful I am to him. 

Finally, I thank my family for their continual and unwavering support 
throughout my entire educational career. My parents have always encouraged me to 
do my best at whatever task I choose. This encouragement and their belief in me 
allowed me to reach this point in my life. My sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles 
have also provided much support that has contributed to my success. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

DEDICATION iii 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv 

LIST OF TABLES ix 

LIST OF FIGURES xii 

ABSTRACT xiii 

CHAPTER L INTRODUCTION 1 

Purpose of the Study 5 

Definitions 6 

Research Questions and Hypotheses 9 

Research Question 1 9 

Research Question 2 9 

Research Question 3 10 

Research Question 4 10 

Research Question 5 10 

Theory 11 

Theories of Cognitive Development 12 

Piaget's theory of cognitive development 12 

Vygotsky sociocultural theory and Bandura's theories 19 

Bronfenbrenner's Ecology of Human Development 23 

Experiential Learning Theory 28 

Theoretical Relationships 31 

Summary Statement of the Problem 35 



CHAPTER 2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE 39 

Benefits of Gardening 39 

History of School Gardens 44 

Benefits of School Gardens 48 

Moral Development 49 

Academic Learning 50 

Sense of Community 51 

Environmental Awareness 51 

School Garden Research 52 

Research with Teachers Using School Gardens 53 



VI 



Research with Students Using School Gardens 54 

Interview research 55 

Survey research 58 

Youth Developmental Assets 64 

Positive values 66 

Social competencies 67 

Commitment to learning 68 

Student Attitudes toward Science 69 

Student Attitudes toward the Environment 79 

Summary of Literature 81 



CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY 86 

Participant Selection 86 

Measuring the Dependent Variables 88 

Measuring the Independent Variables 94 

Individual Factors 94 

Typology of School Gardens 95 

Procedure for Data Collection 104 

Pilot Test 104 

Student Survey 106 

Teacher Survey 107 

Statistical Procedures 107 



CHAPTER 4. RESULTS AND ANALYSIS 109 

Research Question 1 109 

Research Question 2 124 

Research Question 3 126 

Research Question 4 132 

Research Question 5 134 

CHAPTERS. DISCUSSION 140 

Study Summary 140 

Purpose of this Study 142 

Discussion of Findings 144 

Research Question 1 144 

Research Question 2 150 

Research Question 3 151 

Research Question 4 155 

Research Question 5 157 

Limitations of the Study 160 

Implications 161 

Implications for Theory 161 

Implications related to cognitive theory 162 

Implications related to socioccultural theory and social cognitive 162 



Vll 



Implications related to ecological theory 163 

Implications related to experiential learning theory 164 

Implications for Future Research 165 

Methodological issues 165 

Additional studies 167 

Implications for Practice 170 

Contributions of this Study 175 



REFERENCES 177 

APPENDIXES 

APPENDIX A. FLOWER SCALE USED IN STUDENT SURVEY 186 



APPENDIX B. SCALE RELIABILITY AND CORRELATIONAL 

STATISTICS 187 



APPENDIX C. SAMPLE CONSENT LETTER 192 



APPENDIX D. SAMPLE INSTRUCTIONS FOR TEACHERS 194 



APPENDIX E. SAMPLE PROBLEMS AND EXAMPLES FOR TEACHERS .... 196 



APPENDIX F. CORRELATION STATISTICS OF TYPOLOGY FACTORS 197 



APPENDIX G. ANCOVA STATISTICS FOR TYPOLOGY FACTORS 199 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 200 



vm 



LIST OF TABLES 



Table 

1-1. Piaget's stages of cognitive development 14 



1-2. National Association for the Education Of Young Children's guidelines 18 

3-1. Number of classes, teachers, and students participating in the study 89 

3-2. Univariate statistics for dependent variables scales 96 

3-3. Possible factors to measure school garden intensity 103 

3-4. Typology of school garden programs 104 

4-1. Thenumber of hours a week 110 

4-2. The percent of time the garden is used as an instructional tool 110 

4-3. Subject areas into which teachers have incorporated school gardening 1 1 1 

4-4. The number of years that school gardening 1 12 

4-5. Forms of volunteer help teachers use 1 14 

4-6. Sources of information teachers use to assist 115 

4-7. Types of educational materials teachers use to support 1 16 

ix 



4-8. How teachers and students utilized the end product of their garden 116 

4-9. Most common science sunshine state standards 119 

5 

4-10. Garden-related activities students participated in prior 120 

4-11. The number of garden-related activities students 120 

4-12. Number and percentage of classes and students 123 

4-13. Descriptive statistics of possible factors to measure 125 

4-14. Typology of responsibility scores 126 

4-15. Analysis of responsibility scores - main effects 127 

4-16. Typology of attitudes toward science scores 128 

4-17. Analysis of science attitude scores -main effects 129 

4-18. Typology of attitudes toward science scores based on gender 130 

4-19. Analysis of science attitude scores - interactions 131 

4-20. Typology ofattitudes toward the usefulness of science 132 

4-21 . Analysis of usefulness of science study attitude scores - main effects 133 

4-22. Typology ofattitudes toward usefulness of science study 134 

4-23. Analysis of usefulness of science study attitude scores - interactions 135 



4-24. Typology of Environmental Attitudes 136 

4-25. Analysis of Environmental Attitude Scores - Main Effects 136 

4-26. Typology Of Attitudes Toward The Garden 137 

4-27. Analysis of Garden Attitude Scores - Main Effects 138 

4-28. Analysis of Garden Attitude Scores - Interactions 139 



r':'ii\ 



xi 



LIST OF FIGURES 

\ i ■ • 

Figure i ■ 

1-1. Triadic reciprocality: relationship of person and environment 22 

1-2. Bronfenbrenner's ecological model 25 

1-3. Experiential learning model 30 

3-1. Distribution of number of activity scores 104 



xii 



Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School 

of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the 

Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy 

THE GROWING PHENOMENON OF SCHOOL GARDENS: 
CULTIVATING POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT 

Sonja Marie Skelly 

August 2000 

Chairperson: Dr. Jennifer Campbell Bradley 
Major Department: Environmental Horticulture , 

Several youth development theories (cognitive, social cognitive, and 
ecological) provided the theoretical framework for a study of school gardens and their 
impact on youth. A teacher questionnaire was developed to gain insight into how 
teachers use school gardens with their students and in their curriculum. The 
information gathered from 28 third-grade teachers was used to develop a multi-level 
framework that would serve as the independent variable of analysis. Elements of 
positive youth development (responsibility and attitudes towards science, the 
environment, and the garden) of 427 third-grade students were investigated. These 
elements were examined in relation to school garden intensity and form. 

Descriptive statistics showed that teachers were using school gardens in many 
different ways and to varying degrees. This variation among gardens was simplified 
into a multi-level framework based on intensity, measured by the number of garden- 
related activities students participated in prior to and while in the garden (high. 



Xlll 



medium, and low) and the form of school gardens (flower, vegetable, or combination 
flower/vegetable). This typology consisted of nine types of gardens: (a) low-intensity 
flower garden, (b) low-intensity vegetable garden, (c) low-intensity combination 
garden, (d) medium-intensity vegetable garden, (e) medium-intensity flower garden, 
(f) medium-intensity combination garden, (g) high-intensity vegetable garden, (h) 
high-intensity flower garden, and (i) high-intensity combination garden. Analysis of 
covariance was to determine if there were significant differences among the nine 
types of school gardens. Significant differences were found among the school garden 
types and students' attitudes toward science, attitudes toward the usefulness of 
science study, and attitudes toward gardens. While there were no significant 
differences among school garden types and students' responsibility scores and 
environmental attitudes, scores for each of these elements were very high (indicating 
a sense of responsibility and a positive environmental attitude) with little variation. 



XI 



CHAPTER 1 
INTRODUCTION 



"A garden is a wonderfully interesting and exciting place in which children 
can play, work, and learn" (Herd 1997, p. 6). Many teachers throughout America 
who praise the wonders and benefits of school gardens are echoing this statement. 
Schools and teachers have been using gardens to teach their students since the 1800s. 
Throughout the past 200 years, school gardening has been championed by many 
teachers who believe school gardens provide the best way to enhance classroom 
lessons (Becker, 1995; Berghom, 1988; Braun, 1989; Canaris, 1995; Gwynn, 1988; In 
Virginia, 1992; Neer, 1990; Stetson, 1991). Even today the practice is becoming 
more widespread. Currently, every one of the 8,000 public schools in the state of 
California either has a school garden, has one being installed, or has plans to install a 
garden (Peyser & Weingarten, 1998). Obviously, many educators are realizing the 
value and benefit of gardens to their school and students. Gardens provide an 
environment in which students can learn to work with teachers, parents, and 
volunteers while growing plants and discovering the relationships among people, 
plants, and wildlife (Alexander, North, & Hendren, 1995). 

The first educational gardens were found in Europe as early as 1525 AD. One 
of the first proponents of the school garden was Fredrick Froebel who founded the 
first kindergarten in 1840. Froebel' s kindergarten, which translated means child 
garden, was designed so that students could learn through light gardening (Bachert, 



1 



1 976). School gardens in America have existed since the late 1 800s. At first, the 
idea of gardening at school was slow to catch on, with only five known gardens 
before 1900. This number rose dramatically over the next decade with 80,000 
reported school gardens by 1910. 

One of the first educators to document the benefits of school gardening was 
Maria Montessori. Montessori (1912) believed that children working in a garden 
would learn moral education and an appreciation of nature. Montessori noted that 
gardens benefited children in several ways. Children developed a sense of 
responsibility by caring for plants and learned patience by waiting for plants to grow. 
She also reported that interpersonal skills improved after working in the garden. 

During the 20 century, school gardens have grown in popularity and many 
schools are now using gardens to supplement their lessons. One study conducted 
found that students who were taught in school gardens and vegetated areas of school 
grounds had higher scores for general botanical knowledge than students who 
received instruction with little or no vegetation at their school (Harvey, 1989). 
Additionally, many studies have found that involvement in outdoor activities, 
mcluding gardening, can have positive effects on children's environmental attitudes, 
making them more environmentally conscious (Harvey, 1989; Skelly, 1997). 

Interest in school gardens is not limited to the United States. Many 
elementary and junior high schools in Japan regularly participate in agricultural 
activities. Japanese schools have farms directly on school property or in close 
proximity. Farming and gardening practices are being used in 70 to 80% of primary 
schools and in 40 to 50% of secondary schools. The students grow a variety of 



vegetables and view the garden as a fun activity (Konoshima, 1995). Konoshima 
found that these agricultural activities led students to a better appreciation and 
understanding of nature. In addition, Konoshima remarks that farming activities give 
students a heightened sense of self-control and a better discernment of work. 

Similarly, a classroom garden program in San Antonio, Texas, reported that 
second- and third-grade students who participated in gardening once a week gained 
beneficial results after participating in the program. After conducting interviews with 
teachers, parents, and students, researchers reported that the garden project gave 
students the opportunity to learn about "delayed gratification, independence, 
cooperation, self-esteem, enthusiasm/anticipation, nurturing living things, motivation, 
pride in their activities, and exposure to role models from different walks of life" 
(Alexander et al., 1995, p. 259). Additionally, researchers reported that parental 
involvement and enthusiasm increased as children participated in the garden; many 
teachers stated that children convinced their parents to grow gardens at home. 
Children also were found to have a greater sense of community as they worked in 
their gardens at school and at home. The garden is a hands-on educational tool. After 
interviewing the involved teachers, researchers reported that the garden can be related 
to all subjects and "puts it in a way the kids are able to understand" (Alexander et al, 
1995, p. 259). . 

One reason students may learn better through school gardens is that working 
in a garden and with nature may require "involuntary attention" (Kaplan, 1973, p. 
146). Kaplan states that people report being fascinated with nature and specifically 
gardening because of the intrigue of growing things. It is such fascination that leads 






to involuntary attention, an effortless non-competing mind set. Kaplan argues that if 
gardening can result in involuntary attention, benefits are likely. Benefits can include 
a rest for the mind from effort due to constant attention as well as a rest from 
competing thoughts of worries and cares. 

Teachers have been using school gardens for a number of reasons, for 
example, students' learning was made more meaningful by garden lessons (Canaris, 
1995; Kutsunai, 1994; Levenston, 1988). Educators also reported that students are 
involved in prediction making and inquiry-based learning through gardening 
activities. Teamwork, nurturing, caring for something other than themselves and 
seeing the product of these life skills are other anecdotal benefits students derive from 
the garden (Canaris, 1995). School gardens also lend themselves as instructional 
tools for all subjects such as reading, art, music, and social studies, going beyond the 
traditional math and science lessons a garden typically offers (Canaris, 1995; Eames- 
Sheavly, 1994; Levenston, 1988). Skelly and Bradley (2000) in a study with Florida 
elementary school teachers, found that 97% of the thirty-five teachers surveyed used 
their gardens to teach environmental education. Eighty -four percent of these teachers 
agreed that their school garden helped students learn better. Experiential learning 
was cited by about three quarters of the teachers as an additional reason they used the 
school garden. In contrast to the positive reports of school gardens, one study found 
no differences among attitudes toward school, interpersonal relationships and self- 
esteem levels of students participating in gardening programs and students not 
participating in gardening programs (Waliczek, 1997). Waliczek also found that 
different types of gardening programs had different affects on students' school 



attitudes. The research proposed in this study intends to continue to look at different 
types of school gardening programs and their affect on students. 

The benefits of school gardens in promoting positive youth development have 
been minimally addressed through scientific research. Researching the role school 
gardens may have on the cognitive and social development of students has also 
received very little attention. In the past, research on school gardens has focused on 
teachers' uses of school gardens (DeMarco, 1999; Skelly & Bradley, 2000), impact 
on environmental attitudes (Skelly, 1997; Waliczek, 1997), knowledge (Waliczek, 
1997) and nutrition (Lineberger & Zajicek, 2000). To date, variables related to 
positive youth development (possession of youth developmental assets, positive 
attitudes toward science, and positive attitudes toward the environment) have not 
been examined in the context of school gardens. 

Purpose of the Study 

Studies concerning the benefits and effects of school gardens on students are 
limited. Previous studies explored differences among students participating in garden 
programs and students not participating in garden programs. Although these research 
endeavors shed light on some of the benefits students gain from school gardens, there 
has not been a research study that examines how teachers are currently using school 
gardens. The initial goal of this study was to determine how teachers are using school 
gardens and what, if any, type of variation in use. Knowledge of how teachers use 
school gardens, and the different approaches that may exist is important information 
for developing a model that explains differences among students. An additional 



purpose of this study was to explore the impact of school garden variation on 
elements of positive youth development. 

Specifically, this study was designed to accomplish the following purposes: 

1 . Determine how teachers use school gardens with their students and within 
their curriculum, and if variation exists in the uses of school gardens. 

2. Determine the factor(s) that contribute to the intensity of a school garden 
program. 

3. Develop a multi-level framework that incorporates both school garden 
intensity and school garden form (flower, vegetable, or combination 
flower/vegetable) to explore elements of positive youth development: 
youth developmental assets (achievement motivation, school engagement, 
responsibility, and interpersonal competence) and students' attitudes 
toward science, the environment, and the school garden. 

4. Adapt existing measures, or develop new measures, to enable the study of 
school gardens. 

5. Provide theoretical and empirical support that will assist with the design 
and use of school gardens for elementary-age children. 

Definitions 

The key concepts used in this study are defined below. 

Cognitive development. Development is defined by Good and Brophy 
(1995, p. 29) as "an orderly progression to increasingly higher levels of both 
differentiation and integration of the components of a system." Cognitive 



development therefore refers to the development of cognition or "the act or process of 
knowing" (Woolf, 1 98 1 , p. 2 1 5). 

Youth developmental assets. While there are many ways to assess youth 
development, for the purposes of this study, the focus will be on certain 
developmental assets, or the "positive relationships, opportunities, skills, and values 
that help young people grow up healthy" (Scales & Leffert, 1999, p. 1). 

Achievement motivation. Achievement motivation is a developmental asset 
addressing a young person's motivation to do well in school. 

School engagement. Scales and Leffert (1999, p. 122) define this 
developmental asset as the "feeling of cormectedness to school." 

Responsibility. Responsibility is a developmental asset that children develop 
when they learn to accept and take personal accountability (Benson et al., 1997). 

Interpersonal competence. Interpersonal competence refers to the 
developmental asset addressing a child's ability to interact with adults and peers as 
well as to make friends. 

Science attitudes. Science attitudes refers to students' attitudes toward their 
science teacher, science class, usefulness of science study, and being a scientist 
(Yager & Yager, 1985). 

Environmental attitudes. Environmental attitudes refers to students' 
attitudes toward the environment, environmental policies, and environmental issues. 

Garden attitudes. Garden attitudes refers to students' attitudes toward the 
school garden they use and the activities associated with the garden. 



8 



School garden. A school garden is a piece of school property where plants 
are grown and horticulture is practiced as an educational strategy and learning tool 
(DeMarco, 1999). 

School garden form. The form of the garden refers to the types of plants 
grown in the garden. In this study three forms were observed: vegetable garden (a 
garden that contains only vegetable plants), flower garden (a garden that contains 
only flowering or ornamental plants), and a combination vegetable/flower garden (a 
garden containing both vegetable and flowering or ornamental plants). 

School garden intensity. School garden intensity is the level at which 
teachers and students design, use, and integrate a school garden. Factors determining 
intensity include, but are not limited to: amount of time students spend in the garden, 
activities students participate in while in the garden, percentage of time that the 
teacher uses the garden as an instructional tool in the classroom, and number and type 
of subject areas into which school gardening has been incorporated. 

School garden type. School garden type is a concept created by combining 
school garden form (flower, vegetable, combination flower/vegetable) and school 
garden intensity (high, medium, and low). 

Sunshine State Standards. The Sunshine State Standards are the Florida 
Department of Education's list of educational standards that teachers are to address 
for each grade level (Florida Department of Education, 2000). 



?>,- 



■ ' -J 



Research Questions and Hypotheses 

-- The following research questions and related hypotheses were examined in 
this study. Hypotheses were advanced when previous research was sufficient to 
indicate a relationship. The remaining research questions were considered 
exploratory and therefore no hypotheses were developed. 

Research Question 1 

1.1 How and to what degree are teachers using school gardens? 

1 .2 What factors contribute to the intensity of a school garden program? 

1.3 Do school gardens vary in intensity and form? 

Research Question 2 

2.1 Do students using school gardens possess the youth developmental 
assets of achievement motivation, school engagement, responsibility, 
and interpersonal competence? 

2.2 Do students possess the youth developmental assets of achievement 
motivation, school engagement, responsibility, and interpersonal 
competence in varying degrees depending on school garden type? 

Hypothesis; There is a positive relationship between the number of youth 
developmental assets students possess and school garden type. 



10 
Research Question 3 

3.1 In what ways do students' attitudes toward science differ depending on 
school garden type? 

3.2 In what ways do students' attitudes toward science differ based on a 
variety of personal and social context variables? 

Hypothesis; Students' attitudes toward science do not differ by gender in the 
third grade. 

Hypothesis; There is a positive relationship between students' attitudes 
toward science and school garden type. 

Research Question 4 

4. 1 In what ways do students' attitudes toward the environment differ 
depending on school garden type? 

4.2 In what ways do students' attitudes toward the environment differ 
based on a variety of personal and social context variables? 

Hypothesis; Students' attitudes toward the environment do not differ by 
gender in the third grade. 

Hypothesis; There is a positive relationship between students' attitudes 
toward the environment and school garden type. 

Research Question 5 

5.1 In what ways do students' attitudes toward school gardens differ 
depending on school garden type? 



11 

Theory 

Typically, a school garden may be viewed as a teaching technique and not a 
place where cognitive and social-cognitive development occurs. However, as many 
teachers anecdotally point out, the school garden is a place that enhances learning, 
promotes cooperation, and teaches children responsibility (Anon, 1992; Becker, 1995; 
Berghom, 1988; Braun, 1989; Canaris, 1995; Davies, 1995; Gwynn, 1988; Neer, 
1990; Stetson, 1991). These benefits can be interpreted as manifestations of 
children's cognitive and social-cognitive development. Additionally, many teachers 
use and promote gardening as the ideal forum for experiential learning (Anon, 1992; 
Barron, 1993; Craig, 1997; Kutsunai, 1994). While such anecdotal evidence is 
important for recognizing the possible benefits school gardens may hold for students, 
it is first important to have an understanding of the theories that underlie cognitive 
and social-cognitive development and experiential learning. Within the framework of 
educational psychology, "the study of thoughts and actions that are related to how we 
teach and learn" (Gage & Berliner, 1988, p. 3), are several theories that focus 
specifically on the cognitive development of children. Development is defined by 
Good and Brophy (1995, p. 29) as "an orderly progression to increasingly higher 
levels of both differentiation and integration of the components of a system." 
Cognitive development therefore refers to the development of cognition or "the act or 
process of knowing" (Woolf, 1981, p. 215). The following combination of cognitive 
development, social-cognitive development, human ecological and experiential 
learning theories has the potential to enhance future studies in the area of school 
gardens. 



12 

The following sections outline the predominant and pertinent theories of 
cognitive development, social-cognitive development, human ecological 
development, and experiential learning. How these theories are related and how they 
pertain to a study of school gardens also is addressed. 

Theories of Cognitive Development 
Piaget's theory of cognitive development 

Jean Piaget introduced the first theory of cognitive development. The premise 
of Piaget's theory is that "children actively construct their own knowledge of the 
environment using what they already know to interpret new events and objects" 
(Meece, 1997, p. 118). This theory is the basis for constructivism, or the idea that 
children construct their knowledge from experience with the environment around 
them. Additionally, Piaget postulated that development occurs through a series of 
stages that humans pass through as they grow older. Piaget reasoned that as humans 
try to make sense of the world, the thinking processes change radically and become 
more complex from birth to maturity. Piaget defined three influences on cognitive 
development; maturity through biological changes, ability to act on and learn from 
the environment through social transmission or interaction with others, and 
equilibration (Meece, 1997; Woolfork, 1998). 

Piaget's theory of cognitive development also characterized two tendencies in 
thinking. The first tendency is to organize, combine, arrange, recombine and 
rearrange thoughts into congruous systems. These systems are arranged into schemes 
or "cognitive, verbal, and behavioral frameworks that are developed to organize 



13 

learning and to guide behavior" (Good & Brophy, 1995, p. 33). Another tendency is 
adaptation or adjustment to the environment. Our ability to adapt is based on two 
processes that occur simultaneously. The first process is assimilation, which allows 
people to use existing schemes to make sense of the world. The second process is 
accommodation. Accommodation requires a person to assess a new situation or 
information and to determine if it fits into an existing theme. If the new situation or 
information does not fit, accommodation allows people to change a scheme or 
develop a more appropriate scheme so that the new information will fit. Cognitive 
development occurs because of a person's ability to integrate new information into 
existing schemes or by the construction of new schemes. Piaget reasoned further that 
in order for human beings to maintain a balance between accommodation and 
assimilation, people must maintain equilibrium between the two. This idea of 
equilibrium is one of Piaget's fundamental assumptions; "people strive for 
equilibration as they impose order and meaningfulness on their experiences" (Good & 
Brophy, 1995, p. 4). 

Piaget's theory rests on the process of cognitive development through scheme 
construction and on the stages during which schemes develop. Piaget defined four 
stages of cognitive development: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operations, 
and formal operations (Table 1-1). Each stage represents an increasingly complex 
level of cognitive development from birth to adulthood. According to Piaget, 
children proceed through these stages in the same sequence; it is not possible to skip a 
stage, nor is it possible to revert to a previous stage. Piaget defined age ranges for 






14 

each group, although he recognized that these ranges are general and may be affected 
by individual and cultural factors (Meece, 1997). 

Table 1-1. Piaget's stages of cognitive development. 



Stage 



Age 



Characteristics 



Sensorimotor 



Birth to 2 years 



Preoperational 



2 to 7 years 



Concrete 
operations 



7 to 12 years 



Formal operations 12 years and beyond 



Move from reflexive behavior to goal-directed behavior 
Means: end thinking 

Object permanence: objects continue to exist even 
when they are not in sight 

Language development 

Ability to think and solve problems intuitively, through 

symbols 

Thinking is rigid, centered, and egocentric 

Ability to think logically due to attainment of seriation, 

classification, conservation, negation, reversible 

thinking, identity, and compensation 

Able to solve hands-on, concrete problems logically 

Adopt another's perspective 

Consider intentions in moral reasoning 

Hypothetical and purely symbolic (complex verbal) 

thinking 

Development of abstract systems of thought 

More scientific thinking that allows the use of 

propositional logic, scientific reasoning, and 

proportional reasoning 

Concerns over identity and social issues 



Adapted from Good & Brophy (1995, p. 37) and Meece (1997, p. 1 19) 



The first of Piaget's stages is the sensorimotor stage, which occurs from birth 
to two years. During this stage children acquire the schemes of goal-directed 
behavior and object permanence. According to Piaget, these schemes provide the 
foundation for symbolic thinking and human intelligence (Meece, 1997). The next 
stage of cognitive development is the preoperational stage occurring from age 2 to 7. 
Children in the preoperational stage are beginning to think about objects, people, 
and/or events even when they are absent. Their ability to use symbols - gestures. 



15 

words, numbers, and images - as representations of their environment is a major 
accomplishment of the preoperational stage. This ability increases as the child moves 
through this stage, but remains limiting as children lack the ability to perform logical 
operations (Meece, 1997; Woolfork, 1998). 

The third stage of cognitive development is the concrete operational stage, 
occurring from age 7 to 12, and is characterized by a child's ability to solve concrete 
or hands-on problems in a logical fashion. Children in this stage also are able to 
understand the laws of conservation, classification, seriation, and reversibility (Good 
& Brophy, 1995; Woolfork, 1998). Children in this stage of development are also 
less centrated and egocentric. At this stage of development, children's thinking 
becomes less rigid and more flexible and children are no longer basing their 
judgements on the appearance of things (Meece, 1997). 

For the purposes of this study, children ages 9 to 10 were the subjects vmder 
investigation, therefore a more thorough discussion of the concrete operational stage 
follows. A key feature of the concrete operational stage is the ability of children to 
understand the laws of conservation, reversibility, classification, and seriation. 
Conservation reasoning is one of the hallmarks of the concrete operational stage. 
"Conservation involves the understanding that an entity remains the same despite 
superficial changes in its form or physical appearance" (Meece, 1997, p. 133). This 
ties in to children's ability to base their reasoning, not on physical appearance, but on 
an understanding of identity. Understanding identity means that children realize that 
a material remains the same if nothing is taken away or if nothing is added. 
Additionally children begin to understand reversibility, or the knowledge that a 



16 

change in one direction can be compensated by a change in another direction 
(Woolfork, 1998). 

Another premise of the concrete operational stage is the child's ability to 
accomplish reversible thinking. Reversible thinking allows a child to classify objects 
in more than one dimension due to their ability to reverse an operation. For example, 
a child may first classify an object based on color and then reclassify it based on 
shape. This ability to recognize multiple dimensions allows children in the concrete 
operational stage to acquire advanced classification skills. The ability to classify was 
believed by Piaget to be central to this stage. While children in the preoperational 
stage have the ability to classify, it is usually limited to one dimension, such as shape 
or color. Children in the concrete operational stage begin to recognize that objects 
have more than one dimension and are able to classify based on hierarchical order 
(Berk, 2000). Classification skills allow children to impose order on their 
environment by organizing objects according to similar elements. The final hallmark 
of Piaget's concrete operational stage is the child's ability to order object in a logical 
progression or sedation. Sedation is a necessary skill for understanding numbers, 
time, and measurement (Meece, 1997). 

The concrete operational child's ability to conserve, reverse, classify, and 
seriate objects allows for a logical system of thinking. This logical thinking, however 
is still tied to the physical reality and is based on concrete situations that can be 
organized, classified, or manipulated. While children in this stage of cognitive 
development are capable of higher orders of thinking, they are not yet able to reason 
about hypothetical or abstract problems (Woolfork, 1998). 



17 

■ ■ ■* . 

The final stage of cognitive development is the formal operational stage from 

11 to 12 years and onward. Emerging from the concrete operational stage, older 

children have acquired the skills and mental operations they will need to begin more 

elaborate systems of logical and abstract thinking. During this stage, children's 

thinking progresses from what is - reality, to what might be - the possible. These 

students can think about things they may never have experienced, generate ideas 

about what might have happened, and make predictions about what may happen in 

the future. Key elements of the formal operations stage are that students are able to 

think hypothetically and symbolically, to develop abstract systems of thought, to use 

scientific reasoning, and to reason hypothetico-deductively (Meece, 1997). Children 

and adolescents develop these attributes of formal operations over time and some 

psychologists debate whether all adults reach the formal operational stage (Woolfork, 

1998). Neimark (1975) contends that 

the first three stages of Piaget's theory are forced on most people by physical 
realities. Formal operations, however, are not so closely tied to the physical 
environment. They may be the product of experience and of practice in 
solving hypothetical problems and using formal scientific reasoning. These 
abilities tend to be valued and taught in literate cultures, particularly in 
colleges and universities. (Woolfork, 1998, p. 38) 

In regards to educational practices, Piaget's theory helps define some 

recommended practices for the classroom. Much of what Piaget theorized falls in line 

with current constructivists' views on teaching and learning. The underlying 

assumption of constructivism is that children construct their own understandings of 

the world in which they live. Children caimot simply have knowledge transmitted to 

them; they must act on the knowledge by manipulating and transforming it so that it 

makes sense to them. The National Council for Teachers of Mathematics and the 



18 

National Science Teachers Association have called for "classrooms where problem 
solving, 'hands-on' experimentation, concept development, logical reasoning, and 
authentic learning are emphasized" (Meece,1997, p. 117). As an example of how 
Piaget's theory applies to the classroom, Table 1-2 provides a list of guidelines set 
forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC, 
1987) for teaching and learning. 

Table 1-2. National Association For The Education Of Young Children's 
Guidehnes For Teaching An d Learning. 

Appropriate Practices ~ 



Teachers prepare learning environments for children to learn through active exploration and 

interaction with adults, other children, and materials exploration and 

Children are expected to be physically and mentally active. Teachers recognize that children leam 
from self-directed problem solving and experimentation ^ 

Children are provided concrete learning activities with materials and content relevant to their lives 
Children select many of their own activities from a variety of learning areas, including damar^av 
blocks, science, math games and puzzles, art and music mciuamg aramatic play, 

Jc'tties.""' """' """"'' ""' "'"''"^'^ '' ''''''''' ^'^"'^-'^ --'— t with materials and 



Inappropriate Practices 



Teachers use highly structured, teacher-directed lessons ' 

" forteThM"' '" *' "'"'"' '"''"^ "'^^^ '=''"^^" "'" '"^ ^^ -*'-• Teachers do the activity 
. A major portion of children's learning time is spent passively listening, sitting, and waiting 

• Large-group, teacher-directed instruction is used most of the time 

' 7u^^£: "'"° ''"''' ""''^"'^' ^"' °^'" ^™"^^'y ^^^^-'^ ^^^^-^ -^t-als dominate the 

• Teachers dominate the instructional process by talking, telling, and showing 

Piaget's theory provides a basis for understanding how children's thinking and 
learning develop as they grow There are, however, problems with Piaget's theory. 
Contemporary theorists have questioned the age categories Piaget assigned to the 
stages of development. These theorists contend that Piaget underestimated the ability 
of younger children. Additionally, Piaget also received criticism for not considering 



the social and cultural contexts within which children grow and develop as a factor in 
cognitive development (Meece, 1997). However, many educational psychologists 
regard Piaget's theory as theoretical rationale for constructivist, discovery, inquiry, 
and problem-solving teaching practices that are used in classrooms today (Meece, 
1997). 

Other theories concerning cognitive development have emerged and are just 
as important when trying to understand how cognitive development occurs. While 
Piaget's theory of cognitive development helps us understand how children reason 
and think about the world, Lev Vygotsky's sociocultural theory and Albert Bandura's 
social cognitive theory of development help us understand the social processes that 
influence the development of intellectual abilities in children. 

Vygotsky's sociocultural theory and Bandura's social cognitive development 
theory 

Vygotsky's theory focuses on the social relationships of children and how 
these relationships affect their cognitive development. The foundation of Vygotsky's 
theory lies in his assertion that it is cultural institutions and social activities, not 
innate factors that shape an individual's thinking patterns. Vygotsky's theory is 
founded on his belief that cognitive development occurs as children internalize the 
products of their social interactions (Meece, 1997). 

Vygotsky contended that children are bom with certain innate abilities such as 
perception, attention, and memory, and by interacting with more knowledgeable 
adults these abilities are shaped into higher mental fianctions. He believed that 



20 

children internalize these flinctions and this internalization of physical actions and/or 

mental operations results in cognitive development (Meece, 1997). 

Much of Vygotsky's theory is based on the role of language and symbolic 

thought in a child's cognitive development. He believed that language and 

manifestations of language - books, numbers and mathematical systems, signs, and so 

forth play a very important role in the development of children. Language is a means 

for expressing one's ideas, asking questions, linking the past and the future, and 

applying order to one's environment (Woolfork, 1998). Language, through various 

stages of speech, provides the basis for development. Social speech is the first stage 

of language and is used primarily for communicating. The next stage of language and 

thought is egocentric speech, which children use to regulate their behavior and 

thinking. Egocentric speech is sometimes referred to as private speech as children 

speak out loud to themselves to help them perform tasks. The final stage of speech 

development is inner speech, where children internalize their egocentric or private 

speech (Meece, 1997; Woolfork, 1998). 

One of the most important constructs set forth by Vygotsky is the zone of 

proximal development. The zone of proximal development deals with a child's 

potential for growth rather than their acmal growth. Vygotsky defined the zone of 

proximal development as 

those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, 
functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state. 
These functions could be termed the 'buds' or 'flowers' of development rather 
than the 'fhiits' of development. The actual development level characterizes 
mental development retrospectively, while the zone of proximal development 
characterizes mental development prospectively. (Meece, 1997, p. 154) 



21 

In terms of education, instruction should precede development and awaken those 
functions that are in the process of maturing. Vygotsky argued that for a child to 
develop fully, the child should take part in progressively more complex levels of 
functioning. This idea of leading children into more complex levels of fiinction is 
known as intellectual scaffolding (Gage & Berliner, 1988). 

Scaffolding is based on the idea that adults help guide children's intellectual 
development. The goal of scaffolding is to shift responsibility for a task from the 
adult to the child. This is accomplished by the adult providing support to the child by 
performing or directing elements of the task that are beyond the child's ability 
(Meece, 1997). 

In addition to the role of the adult in Vygotsky 's theory, is the role of a child's 
peers. Peers can influence development when they say something that is in conflict 
with what the child thinks. From a Piagetian perspective, when conflict arises, it is 
necessary for the child to accommodate or assimilate the new information and regain 
equilibrium. Within the framework of Vygotsky' s theory, peer influence on 
development occurs through collaborative problem solving among children. 
Vygotsky 's theory of cognitive development shifts the emphasis of development from 
the child (Piaget) to the adult and peers. While these theories of learning are thought 
to be accurate, contemporary theorists such as Albert Bandura feel they are 
incomplete. To further the theories of learning and cognitive development, Bandura 
proposes a social-cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986; Woolfork, 1998). 

Bandura (1986, p. 483) states that "most cognitive skills and structures used in 
daily pursuits are cultivated socially, rather than asocially." According to Bandura, 



22 



the social cognitive view of development is that neither innate abilities nor external 
stimuli drive development, rather development is explained by the notion of triadic 
reciprocality. Triadic reciprocality explains development as the result of behavior 
(individual actions, choices, and verbal statements), personal factors (beliefs, 
expectations, attitudes, and knowledge), and environmental events (resources, 
consequences of actions, and physical setting) all interacting and influencing each 
other (Bandura, 1986; Woolfork, 1998, p. 225) (Figure 1-1). This interaction of 
elements is referred to as reciprocal determinism. 

Personal Factors 





Behavior > Environment 

Figure 1-1. Triadic reciprocality: Relationship of person and environment as 
viewed by social cognitive theory. 

Source: ©Bandura, 1997, p. 6. Reprinted with permission. 



Bandura's social cognitive theory also explains two types of learning, enactive 
and vicarious learning. Enactive learning is achieved by doing and experiencing the 
consequences of one's own actions. Experiencing these consequences is what allows 
a person to learn about "appropriate actions, creating expectations, and influencing 
motivation" (Woolfork, 1998, p. 225). Contrary to enactive learning is vicarious 
learning, or learning by observation. Vicarious learning is accomplished when people 
model and imitate others. According to Bandura, other cognitive theories overlook 



23 

the power of vicarious learning as people can learn "by watching, [because] they must 
be focusing their attention, constructing images, remembering, analyzing, and making 
decisions that affect learning" (Woolfork, 1998, p. 225). 

In essence, Bandura's theory emphasizes the importance of the interaction 
between the person and environment in cognitive development. Bandura (1986) 
believes that learning is mediated through five capabilities: 

a) the capacity to learn by observation (i.e, through behavior that is modeled), 

b) the capacity to manipulate information symbolically, c) the capacity for 
forethought (i.e, people are able to anticipate the likely effects of different 
events and regulate their behavior accordingly), d) the capacity for self- 
reflection, and e) the capacity for self-regulation (i.e, adjusting one's thoughts, 
feelings, and actions based on an evaluation of their outcomes) (Ferrari, 1998, 
p. 25). 

This focus on learning based on interactions among the person, behavior, and the 

environment is also a key element in the human ecological theory developed by 

Bronfenbrenner. The ecological theory of human development provides a perspective 

of development that "reveals connections that might otherwise go urmoticed and 

helps us to look beyond the immediate and obvious to see where the most significant 

influences lie" (Garbarino, 1982, p. 18). 

Bronfenbrenner's Ecology of Human Development 

Another important theory for understanding how children develop is the 
human ecological model developed by Bronfenbrenner (1979). In the ecological 
model, human development is a constant, evolving process of interactions between 
humans and the environment. Bronfenbrenner viewed the envirormient as a 



24 



contextual model with multiple structures that are nested and interconnected with the 
child at the center of the model (Figure 1-2). 

Bronfenbrenner theorized that the child, who is bom with certain 
temperamental, mental, and physical conditions that dictate his biological 
development, does not develop in a vacuum (Meece, 1 997). Rather, there are certain 
contexts that impact his development, such as family, peers, and school. These 
immediate contexts are known as microsystems (blue) because they require the 
child's participation and interaction and therefore have a significant impact on the 
development of the child (Bronfenbrermer, 1979). These microsystems are 
characterized by activities, interpersonal relationships, and roles, which play a vital 
role in the two processes that are the "principal engines" of development (Garbarino, 
1982, p. 35). These processes include social interaction with numerous people of 
varying types as well as engagement in activities and tasks that become increasingly 
more complex. These enduring forms of interaction within the environment are also 
known as proximal processes. ' 

While the microsystems are the contexts within which the child experiences 
most interactions, the outer and connecting systems can be just as important in the 
development process. When there is connection between two or more microsystems, 
such as between peers and school, a mesosystem is formed. Mesosystems are made 
up of important environmental factors such as interpersonal relationships, roles and 
activities. More importantly, however, is the "synergistic effects created by the 
interaction of developmentally instigative or inhibitory features and processes present 
in each setting" (Bronfenbrenner, 1993, p. 22). 



25 




Figure 1-2. Bronfenbrenner's ecological model. 

Source: ©Meece, 1997, p. 29. Reprinted with permission. 



At the next level of the model are the connections between two or more 
settings or the exosystem (green). The exosystem is at such a level that the child does 
not have any direct participation in the components of the exosystem. An example of 
an exosystem may be the link between parent's workplace and the home or the 
neighborhood and peers. The exosystem, although not directly involved in the 



26 

developmental process, still plays a significant role in the development of a child. 
Decisions made at the exosystem level are about "the whole range of things that 
shape the actual context and process of a child's microsystem" (Garbarino 1982, p. 
44) and can significantly impact the child. 

The outer most level of Bronfenbrenner's model is the macrosystem (yellow). 
The macrosystem includes the influential factors of politics, cultural ideologies, 
economic factors, science and technology, and laws. These factors affect all other 
systems nested within the macrosystem. Changes at the macrosystem level will 
ultimately produce developmental changes within all other contexts (Garbarino, 
1982). . ; : ^ 

In recent years, Bronfenbrermer and Morris (1998) made revisions to the 

ecological model. These changes focused on the developmental processes and their 

distinction from the environment and redefined the ecological model as the 

bioecological model. Within the context of this new model two propositions were 

posited. Proposition I states: 

human development takes place through processes of progressively more 
complex reciprocal interaction between an active, evolving biopsychological 
human organism and the persons, objects, and symbols in its immediate 
external environment. To be effective, the interaction must occur on a fairly 
regular basis over extended periods of time. Such enduring forms of 
interaction in the immediate environment are referred to as proximal 
processes. (Bronfenbrermer & Morris, 1998, p. 996) 

Proposition II states: 

The form, power, content, and direction of the proximal processes affecting 
development vary systematically as a joint function of the characteristics of 
the developing person; of the environment-both immediate and remote-in 
which the processes are taking place; the nature of the developmental 
outcomes under consideration; and the social continuities and changes 



27 

occurring over time througli the life course and the historical period during 
which the person has lived. (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998, p. 996) 

Bronfenbrenner and Morris (1998) go on to further define the proximal 

processes by describing several properties that make these processes distinctive. The 

first of these properties states that activity must take place for development to occur. 

The second property elaborates on the first by stating that such activity should take 

place on a regular basis over an extended period of time for it to be effective. 

Additionally, these activities should become increasingly complex and not merely 

repetitive. The fourth property explains how the interaction should not be 

unidirectional, but rather a degree of reciprocity is necessary. The fifth property of 

proximal processes puts forth the notion that the interaction of the proximal process 

does not always involve people; interactions may also involve objects and symbols. 

In line with the fourth property, these objects and symbols should be such that they 

invite attention, exploration, manipulation, elaboration, and imagination. The final 

property is concerned with factors specified in Proposition II. In essence, as children 

grow older their capacity to develop increases in level and range. If the proximal 

processes are to remain effective, they should become more extensive and complex as 

development occurs. Although the time between activities can be longer, the 

activities should continue to occur on a regular basis. Bronfenbrermer and Morris 

further this property by adding that it is not just the parents that function in the 

interactive role. As children grow, other persons such as caregivers, siblings, 

relatives, peers, teachers, mentors, spouses, coworkers, superiors, and subordinates at 

work, respectively, change over time and continue to interact "on a fairly regular 

basis over extended periods of time" with the developing person. Essentially, persons 



28 

in this role are not restricted to the formative developmental years, but change, as 
does the person (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998, pp. 996-997). 

Experiential Learning Theory 

Learning by doing is the cornerstone of experiential learning. The idea that 
knowledge is gained through experience is rooted in the teachings of Aristotle 
(Zilbert & Leske, 1989). Aristotle's ideas of experience and learning were in contrast 
to Plato's theory that knowledge is gained through reasoning, not through one's 
senses. "While modem science has largely adopted the empirical view (Aristotle) for 
the definition of knowledge, the rational view (Plato) is dominant in the transmission 
of knowledge" (Zilbert & Leske, 1989, p.l). Although the idea of experiential 
learning has been around for some time, most formal schooling still educates students 
using rational processes, which, in most cases, makes the theories taught seemingly 
unrelated to the "real" world (Zilbert & Leske, 1989, p. 1). 

John Dewey (1938) was one of the first educators to promote experiential 
learning as a viable teaching method that links education, work, and the individual. 
Dewey believed that students should learn, not from textbooks, but from direct 
learning experiences. Dewey stated that textbooks, while important, do not provide 
problems that are real to the student. Only when students are exposed to experiential 
learning techniques that maximize their skills in learning from their own experience 
can the full potential for learning be realized (Kolb & Lewis, 1986). Since Dewey's 
first theories of education and experience, many theories and definitions of 
experiential learning have arisen. Keeton and Tate's (1978, p. 2) definition of 
experiential learning compiles many of the concepts common to experiential learning 



29 

theories: "it [experiential learning] involves direct encounter with the phenomenon 
being studied rather than merely thinking about the encounter or only considering the 
possibility of doing something with it." Dewey did note, however that not all 
experiences are educative. "Only when experiences can be expressed as new ideas, 
when the lessons of experience can be dravra, articulated, and acted on, will 
development have taken place" (Stone, 1994, p. 6). 

One of the most commonly accepted models of experiential learning is Kolb's 
(1984) model (Figure 1-3), which is composed of four stages: direct experiences, 
reflection and observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. 
The first stage, concrete or direct experience, requires students to have personal 
experience with the area/concept being studied. In this first stage, giving students the 
opportunity to directly experience the phenomenon being studied can make the 
phenomenon more meaningful and relevant (Osborne, 1994). The second stage of 
Kolb's experiential learning model is reflection and observation. During this stage 
students reflect on and make observations about the completed experience. This 
stage is important as students begin to transform the experience into new knowledge. 
Abstract conceptualization is the third stage that requires students to generalize about 
the experience and elements of the experience, and relate it to existing knowledge. 
During the final stage, active experimentation, students develop new theories based 
on the generalizations they reached in the third stage and begin to test these new 
theories (Osbome, 1994; Stone, 1994). 



30 



: '-'■-' 


Direct 
Experience 












^"^^^ 


Active 
Experimentation 


i 


Reflection & 
Observation 












^^^ 


Abstract 
Conceptualization 


"^^ 



Figure 1-3, Experiential learning model. 

Based on Kolb's (1984) model. 



For most people, progressing through this cycle occurs subconsciously and it 
is up to educators to bring this cycle of learning to the conscious level for learning to 
occur (Stone, 1994). Osborne (1994, p. 3) states that most educators have a subject 
matter orientation to teaching and hence this starts the learning cycle at stage three 
with educators providing students with the "whats," "hows," and facts first, with 
experiences of the subject matter, if any, coming later. Educators instead, need to 
start the learning process with the direct, concrete experiences in order to place the 
subject matter into a real-world problem context. Additionally, by starting the 
learning cycle with direct and concrete experiences, interest in the subject is usually 
stimulated, students are motivated to learn more, and a strong context for reflection 
and application is provided (Osborne, 1994). According to Proudman (1992, p. 20), 
"good experiential learning combines direct experience that is meaningful to the 
student with guided reflection and analysis. It is a challenging, active, student- 
centered process that impels students toward opportunities for taking initiative, 
responsibility and decision making." 



31 

Theoretical Relationships 

Developing an understanding of children's cognitive development and the role 
education plays in that development is important when assessing the possible benefits 
an educational technique has on the development of children. The four theories of 
cognitive development discussed previously may be seemingly unrelated, but are, in 
fact, complimentary when assessing youth development and the many factors that 
contribute to such development. The relationships of the above mentioned theories 
are summarized below. 

1 . Children are central figures in their own development. 

According to Piaget, children structure their own knowledge. They must act 
on new knowledge by manipulating and transforming it so that it makes sense 
(Meece, 1997). Vygotsky's theory that social interactions are necessary for 
development also gives children a central role as it is their interactions with adults 
and peers that can stimulate development. Additionally, Vygotsky's notions of 
social, egocentric, and inner speech are indicative of how children shape their ovm 
development. Bandura's view of triadic reciprocality of interacting elements of 
personal factors, behavior, and the environment does not put the child in a central 
role, but rather as contributing two-thirds of the elements (personal factors and 
behavior) to the reciprocality model. Additionally, Bandura's theory of enactive 
learning, learning by experiencing the consequences of one's own actions places the 
child in a central role. Tying these theories together is Bronfenbrenner's ecological 
theory. In Bronfenbrenner's model, the child is placed at the center and is embedded 



32 

in all the other systems. His theory puts the child in an environmental context and 
depicts how these contexts influence the child's development. 

2. Social interactions are key elements for development. 

One of the hallmarks of Piaget's theory is his notion of equilibration. 
Equilibration occurs when balance is achieved and maintained between what is 
known and unknown. Social interaction with adults and peers often results in 
conflicting opinion. This conflict will cause children to be in disequilibrium with 
their current knowledge and therefore a subsequent reconciliation of the conflict will 
occur in order to reach equilibrium. Piaget contended that real intellectual activity 
can not occur without social interaction and collaboration with others. Similarly, 
Vygotsky's theory of sociocultural development is based on the social interactions of 
the child wdth others. The premise of his theory is that children develop cognitively 
when they internalize the products of their social interactions (Meece, 1997). In 
addition, one of Vygotsky's most important constructs, the zone of proximal 
development, is based on the notion that adults lead children into more complex 
levels of functioning and knowledge and therefore enhancing cognitive development 
(Gage & Berliner, 1988). This theory of interactions is also tied in with Bandura's 
triadic reciprocality concept. Cognitive development in this respect is the result of 
skills and structures gained through social interactions within the child's 
environment. Bandura's notion of vicarious learning is also centered on the child's 
social interaction with others as vicarious learning is done by observing others 
(Bandura, 1986; Woolfork, 1998). Bronfenbrenner's ecological model is based on 
the synergistic interactions among the child, others, and systems close to and beyond 



33 

his immediate realm. Included in "principal engines" of development in 
Bronfenbrermer's model are the social interactions with numerous people that over 
time become more complex (Garbarino, 1982, p. 35). 

3. Children's envirormients play a significant role in their development. 

Closely tied to the social interactions children experience that contribute to 
their development is the environment in which they are developing. Piaget's main 
contention is that children will develop in stages at certain times in their lives. He 
does, however, point out that the age ranges that define his stages of development 
may be affected by cultural and environmental factors (Meece, 1997). Additionally, 
since children construct their own knowledge, according to Piaget, the environment in 
which they construct this knowledge is dependent on that envirormient. Vygotsky's 
theory of cognitive development also places the child within the context of his 
environment. He believed that it is impossible to understand a child's development 
without some understanding of the culture in which the child is reared. Cognitive 
development, as he viewed it, is a durect result of the cultural institutions and social 
activities a child is exposed to while growing up (Meece, 1997). Within Bandura's 
triadic reciprocality model is the environmental factor contributing to cognitive 
development. Bandura emphasized the importance of the interactions between a 
person and the environment in cognitive development. These interactions are the 
basis for learning by observation, symbolic construction, forethought, self-reflection 
and self-regulation (Ferrari, 1998; Good & Brophy, 1995). Bronfenbrenner viewed 
development as the constant interaction of humans with the environment. While the 
child is central to his development, certain environmental contexts have significant 



34 

impacts on the child's development. These environmental contexts range from 
immediate to far removed, but each influences a child's development through direct 
and indirect interactions. 

4. Experience is necessary for learning and development. 
The fmal connecting factor of each of these theories is that experience is 
essential to a child's cognitive development. Piaget believed that children can not 
develop by reading or hearing about principles. "Children need opportunities to 
explore, to experiment, to search for answers to their own questions." Additionally, 
"knowledge gained from physical experiences must be acted on, transformed, and 
compared with existing knowledge structures" (Meece, 1997, p. 146). The age group 
in question for this study, 9 to 10 year olds, would be in the concrete operational 
stage, according to Piaget. This stage is characterized by a child's ability to solve 
problems logically through hand-on, active experimentation. Teaching applications 
of Piaget's theory call for classrooms that allow for learning through active 
experimentation, self-directed learning through problem solving and experimentation, 
and concrete learning experiences that are relevant to their lives (Meece, 1997). 
While experience is not one of Vygotsky's theoretical premises, his zone of proximal 
development notion can be tied to experiences. In theory, if a child is introduced to a 
new experience she/he can learn from it through interactions with more 
knowledgeable adults who help him to understand the experience. Experience is also 
important to Bandura's social cognitive theory when seen in the context of enactive 
learning. Enactive learning takes place when a child learns from his own experiences 
(Bandura, 1986). Without experiences, an important type of learning, as defined by 



35 

Bandura, is neglected. Bronfenbrenner's proximal processes of development ; 



are 



distinguished by several properties that call for experience. Activity must take place, 
and it must then take place on a regular basis over time. This activity must become 
increasingly more complex and there must be some degree of reciprocity. Finally, the 
activity must invite attention, exploration, manipulation, elaboration, and imagination 
to be a source of development. 

Summary Statement of the Problem 

School gardens have anecdotally been seen to promote the positive 
developmental assets of achievement motivation, school engagement, responsibility, 
and interpersonal competence (Anon., 1992; Becker, 1995; Berghom, 1988; Braun, 
1994; Canaris, 1995; Craig, 1997; Davies, 1995; Dwight, 1992; Gwynn, 1988; Neer, 
1990; Pivnick, 1994). Additionally, educators and researchers have both cited the 
experience of a school garden as enhancing environmental attitudes (Alexander et al., 
1995; Barker, 1992; Becker, 1995; Canaris, 1995; Chawla, 1994; Gwynn, 1988; 
Heffeman, 1994; Pennington, 1988; Pivnick, 1994; Skelly, 1997; Stetson, 1991; 
Waliczek, 1997; Wotowiec, 1975). While Harvey (1990) found that students using 
school gardens or vegetative school grounds had higher scores of botanical 
knowledge than students not using gardens or grounds, no research has addressed the 
possibility of school gardens affecting students' attitudes toward science. Many 
teachers use school gardens to enhance science lessons and so it is theorized that a 
school garden may have an effect on students' attitudes toward science. 



36 



The theories of Piaget and Vygotsky provide a framework for understanding 
how a school garden may have an impact on the cognitive development of students 
who participate in garden projects. The population under investigation in this study i 
third grade students who range in age from 9 to 1 1 years. Within the context of 
Piaget's model, these students are within the concrete operational stage. This means 
they are at a level where they are thinking logically through attainments of reversible 
thinking, conservation, classification, seriation, negation, identity, and compensation. 
Additionally, children are able to solve concrete or hands-on problems logically. The 
school garden is a place where hands-on problem solving is a necessity. A survey of 
Florida elementary teachers found that a majority (73 %) of teachers surveyed used 
the garden for experiential learning (Skelly & Bradley, 2000). While the garden may 
be a tool for experiential learning, students in this age group are not able to think 
abstractly and therefore do not reach the abstract conceptualization stage of the 
experiential learning cycle. However, through social interaction with their teacher 
and peers, children may be brought to the zone of proximal development, which may 
prepare them to start thinking abstractly. 

While the garden is a place and a tool for learning, it is also a place for social 
interaction with teachers, adults and fellow students. These interactions may, 
according to Vygotsky's theory, be a form of intellectual scaffolding within a child's 
zone of proximal development. The garden is a tool that, depending on how it is 
used, can provide a teacher with the means to teach new information in a manner that 
is fun for students, but that also engages students in a way that is exciting to them 
through hands-on problem solving. Although the practices addressed in Table 1-2 are 



37 



guidelines for teaching math to 4- and 5- year olds, some of the guidelines can be 
addressed through garden education. The garden can provide an active learning 
environment where students can explore and interact with peers and adults. 
Additionally, a garden can provide the setting for concrete learning activities that are 
relevant to their lives. Education in a garden can also give students opportunities to 
experiment, draw conclusions, and solve problems. While some of the processes of 
growing a garden may be somewhat abstract or above the intellectual level of a third 
grader, by observing these processes the student may be challenged. This challenge 
can be remedied through interaction with their teacher, parents, and other students. 
With the teacher or other influential persons helping the child to understand these 
complex processes, the child must accommodate or assimilate the new information, 
while at the same time they are being brought into the zone of proximal development 
that will help them to eventually understand such processes. 

Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory is helpful when assessing the context of 
how a school garden may influence the development of positive assets. The 
interactions within environmental settings can be influential enough to enhance or 
discourage development. In light of these theoretical foundations, Bronfenbrenner's 
ecological/bioecological model can be guides for actions and interactions (Ferarri 
1998). 

These models provide a framework for understanding how interactions 
between individual's and their environment can enhance or discourage development. 
At most elementary schools, students primarily stay in one classroom for the duration 
of a school day, therefore the microsystem or context under investigation is the 






38 

classroom and what effects this context has on the individual students in this 
classroom. The school garden is an educational method that is an extension of the 
classroom, which provides the setting for the activities that drive the engines of 
development. Depending on how the garden is used by both teacher and student it 
may play a role in the developmental processes that take place in this comextual 
setting. In this classroom system, there are several factors that may affect a child' 
development; the interaction with the teacher, interaction among students in the 
class, and interactions within the garden both with animate and inanimate objects. 
These interactions may have a significant impact on the development of the children 
within this classroom. 



s 
same 



CHAPTER 2 
REVIEW OF LITERATURE 



Benefits of Gardening 

Gardening has been a way of life for thousands of years. The first gardens to 

be cultivated were done so out of utilitarian need. Gardens for beauty were, in 

ancient times, a luxury that was not often afforded (Hobhouse, 1997). The practice of 

gardening, or horticulture, started with the domestication of wild grains. This new 

cultivation of plants was to change the nomadic hunter/gatherer into the agriculturist 

(Wright, 1934). In the millennia that have passed since the dawn of the first 

agriculturists, gardening has become a way of life in today's society. While people 

still garden for the purposes of growing food, many people now garden for aesthetic 

purposes as well as for their own pleasure (Hobhouse, 1997). Charles Lewis, one of 

the first people to document the positive effects of gardening and green spaces, 

believes that gardening and plants can have a profound impact on people. He states, 

Gardening is a process. Its products - plants, flowers, lawns, shrubs - are 
easily seen, but what do we know of the process that produces them? The 
process of gardening includes all the thoughts, actions, and responses from the 
time the gardening activity is first contemplated, through the planting and 
growth of the seed, to the mature plant. Personal feelings and benefits can be 
seen as by-products, effects unintentionally produced by the process (Lewis 
1996, pp. 56-57) ' 

It is these by-products of gardening, the personal feelings and benefits, that make 
gardening such a popular pastime. 



39 



40 

i 



According to a 1988 study conducted by the National Gardening Association, 

70 million households engage in some form of gardening (Robbins, 1988). In a more 

recent study, the National Gardening Association (1 997) reports that 67 % of 

Americans participate in garden activities. These numbers indicate that gardening is 

practiced by many and that with so many people gardening, there must be benefits 

derived from this practice. To assess some of these benefits, the National Gardening 

Association surveyed approximately 2000 gardeners in 50 states. Ninety-six percent 

of those surveyed agreed with the following statements: 

one of the most satisfying aspects of gardening is the peace and tranquility it 
bnngs; gardemng gives me a sense of control over my environment- being 
around plants makes me feel calmer and more relaxed; the natural world is 
essential to my well being. (Butterfield & Relf, 1992, p. 212) 

Obviously, gardening is a passion that many people enjoy and from which many 
people derive benefits. 

Research exploring the benefits of gardening has revealed that gardens 
provide many benefits to gardeners (Kaplan, 1973; Patel, 1996; Waliczek, Zajicek, & 
Matteson, 1996). In an article entitled "Some Psychological Benefits of Gardening," 
Rachel Kaplan (1973) discusses the reasons for and benefits received from gardening. 
She begins by discussing several advantages in exploring gardening as an activity that 
produces benefits associated with nature experiences. The first advantage she points 
out is that "nature is clearly an essential component and not a background which 
might be ignored by participants" (p. 145). She adds that nature "requires a 
continuing contact and thus represents a commitment rather than a chance or causal 
experience with the outdoor enviromnent" (p. 146). Finally, Kaplan contends that 
gardening "is a close-at-hand form of leisure activity. This tends both to decrease its 



41 

'image' value and to increase its potential role in an individual's psychological 
economy by its very accessibility and frequency of contact" (p. 146). 

Kaplan recognizes that gardening is an activity that is enjoyed by many and is 
appealing for a large number of reasons. From this observation she asks "is there a 
core, an essence to the gardening experience that touches all who participate?" (p. 
146). Kaplan suggests that there are two distinct benefits derived from the gardening 
experience. The first benefit is that gardening provides a source of fascination and 
the second is that gardening gives people a chance to have control over the production 
of their own food and thus are able to participate in their basic survival. 

In order to explore whether anecdotal evidence of these perceived benefits 
actually existed, Kaplan (1973) carried out a study to explore the patterns of 
psychological benefits associated with the garden experience and whether there 
existed variables (demographic and attitudinal) that predicted these benefits. She 
surveyed a sample of community, home, and plot gardeners for this study. Analyses 
of the survey data found three categories of psychological benefits. The first benefit 
category pertained to variables that make up tangible benefits. Tangible benefits 
included the enjoyment of producing one's own food, reducing food expenses, and 
harvesting from the garden. The second category of benefits identified by the 
researcher were the primary garden experiences people received from gardening. 
Primary garden experiences included a desire to work in the soil, wanting to see 
things grow, enjoyment of being outside, and interest in learning about gardening. 
The third category of benefits revealed in the study were those that related to 
sustained interest. Benefits measured by the Sustained Interest Scale (Kaplan, 1973) 



42 



were the "ability to sustain interest, valuable way to spend time, diversion from 

routine, aesthetic pleasure from plants, opportunity to relax, and provide a sense of 

accomplishment" (p. 1 53). 

Kaplan reasoned that the high mean associated with the sustained interest 

scale reflected the idea that gardening is indeed a powerfiil source of fascination. 

Kaplan reasoned that a garden holds this sense of fascination because 

it calls on the basic informational processes that humans do so well and 
presumably care so deeply about. It not only permits, but actually invites 
recognition, prediction, control, and evaluation. [Gardening] does this by 
providing knowledge and requiring it. It is a setting that allows for order, but 
that order is deeply embedded in uncertainty and change. Thus, it challenges 
the human information-processing capability, and to the extent that the 
challenge is met, both reward and more challenge are forthcoming. (Kaplan, 
1973, p. 160) 

Kaplan also reasoned that gardening holds a sense of fascination because it is 
a nature-based activity and this had been previously shown by Kaplan and Wendt 
(1972) to be an activity of preference. Additionally, Kaplan contended that 
fascination is natural in a garden because a garden is also a place were nature is 
condensed and intensified in a miniature setting. Within this setting, natural 
processes, actions, and cycles can be played out and observed. Viewing such 
phenomena can only lead to fascination. 

In a similar study, Patel (1996) surveyed the participants of a community 
education program designed to teach community leadership, provide gardening and 
clinic workshops, and to host several garden recognition programs to identify the 
benefits of gardening. Patel's survey of participants found that the people who 
partook in the garden education program reaped many benefits through gardening. 
He reported that over one quarter of his sample of 300 community gardeners helped 



43 

others and shared their produce. Additionally, 44% of participants benefited from 
receiving fresh vegetables; 35% reported an improvement in their diet; and 33% were 
able to save money by gardening. The community gardeners in Patel's program also 
reported that they developed friendships (31%) and felt that an improvement in their 
neighborhood was made (13%). 

In an attempt to determine if gardening improved the quality of life of 
community gardeners, Waliczek, Zajicek, and Mattson (1996) surveyed 361 
gardeners from 36 community gardens. These researchers found significant 
differences among ethnic groups' reasons for gardening. "Working outside, working 
with nature, and feeling healthier from eating produce" (p. 34) were rated as more 
important by African-American and Hispanic gardeners as compared to Caucasian 
and Asian gardeners. All ethnic groups reported that they felt it was important to 
have a community garden to help promote community involvement. When exploring 
the concept of self esteem with community gardeners, researchers found that 
statements assessing self-esteem and self actualization were rated higher (more 
important) among African- American and Hispanic gardeners than Caucasian and 
Asian gardeners. Overall, the researchers of this study concluded that the community 
gardens and participation in the gardens provided many quality-of life benefits to the 
gardeners. 

While research exploring the benefits of gardening has focused mainly on 
community gardeners and homeowners, research examining the benefits of gardening 
on children has remained relatively unexamined. It may be logical to assume that 
children may experience benefits similar to adults, however this assumption may be 



44 

inaccurate and proper research is necessary to determine the benefits children derive 
from gardening. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine what benefits, 
if any, children using school gardens were experiencing. 

History of School Gardens 

The use of school gardens in American can be traced back to the late 1800s. 
However, long before school gardens made their way into American school systems, 
European schools had embraced school gardens. Some historians even trace the 
beginnings of school gardens as far back as 1015 BC when King Solomon had 
extensive gardens that were thought to be used for the purposes of instruction 
(Bachert, 1976). While this link may be weak, Bachert (1976) cites many references 
that date school gardens back to 1525 AD. He presents an examination of significant 
dates that marks the spread of school gardens. The earliest known school gardens 
were linked to the botanical gardens of Italy and other universities in 1 525 AD. 
Several publications promoted the idea of schools gardens: Amos Comenius' 
Didactica maintaing that a garden should be connected with each school (1592-1672) 
and J. J. Rosseau's Emile (publication) noting the importance of garden work as an 
educational factor (1762). In 1840, Fredrick Froebel founded the first kindergarten, a 
place where light gardening was thought to enhance play and education. After 
Froebel' s kindergarten idea, school gardens went on to be established in the larger 
German cities. On March 14, 1 869, Austrian imperial school law prescribed that a 
garden or agricultural place be established at every rural school (Bachert 1976, p. 18). 



45 

With the widespread occurrence of school gardens throughout Europe, 
America was beginning to take notice. Bachert argues that the transition of school 
gardens into America most likely occurred through: 

visits by Americans to Europe, visits by European educators to America, 
mfluence of immigrants who had been exposed to school gardens in their own 
education m Europe, translations and reprinting of books in America, and 
articles printed in American magazines and journals about school gardens in 
Europe. (Bachert, 1976, p. 20) 

Henry Lincoln Clapp, who according to Bachert, is known as the "Father of school 
gardening in America," provided the initial steps in bringing and starting school 
gardens in America. Clapp was sent by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society 
(MHS) to study the school gardens in Europe. Clapp's report on the school gardens 
in Europe encouraged schools in America to follow suit and prompted the MHS to 
begin working with schools to install window box gardens. The MHS's promotion of 
window box gardens is argued to be the first development of school gardens in 
America (Bachert, 1976). 

Henry Lincoln Clapp's report stated that there were 81,000 school gardens in 
Europe in 1890. Upon revealing this to a meeting of the Massachusetts Horticultural 
Society in 1891, the school garden movement in American blossomed. Although the 
MHS had started window box gardens at several schools, the first school garden in 
America is thought to have been a garden that Clapp started at the Henry Putnam 
School in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The garden at the Henry Putnam School was a 
vegetable garden that allowed for the scientific study of plants. After this first school 
garden was established, the movement in America was still slow going. Prior to 1 900 
only about four to five school gardens existed. However, by 1906 the movement had 



46 



caught on, and according to an estimate by the United States Department of 
Agriculture, there were approximately 75,000 school gardens being maintained in 
1906. By 1910 this number had risen to about 80,000 schools (Bachert, 1976). 

Once the school garden movement had taken off, several organizations 
formed to promote and encourage school gardens and to help teachers gain access to 
school garden information and literature. Several of the organizations formed were 
the School Garden Association of New York instituted by the American Museum of 
Natural History and the International Children's School Farm League. In addition, 
the Massachusetts Horticultural Society continued to play a significant role in 
promoting school gardens by organizing the first Children's Garden Conference. 
Other established organizations such as the Village Improvement Society of Groton, 
Massachusetts, the Women's Institute of Yonkers, New York, the American Civic 
Association, the American Park and Outdoor Art Association, the Civic League, and 
the Twentieth Century Club also became involved in the school garden movement 
(Bachert, 1976). 

With the support of many organizations, school gardens began to grow 
throughout America. In Illinois, the Farmer Boy's Experiment Club was started to 
provide country boys with more practical training and education about the country 
they lived in. The club's activities included reading of agricultural literature 
produced by the Agriculture College of Extension, field trips to the Agricultural 
College and Experiment Station, and experiments with seeds and plants on the 
students' owti field plots. The club was such a success that a Girl's Home Culture 
Club was formed. 



47 

Another successful garden organization was the National Cash Register Boy's 
Garden in Ohio. This garden was started by the president of the National Cash 
Register Company in an effort to stimulate thought and activity in the young boys of 
his employees. While this garden was not a true school garden, it was established 
with many of the same instructional and developmental elements as school gardens 
and served as a model for many school gardens. J. H. Patterson, the president of the 
company, felt that his upbringing on a farm was one of the reasons he was successful 
and wanted to share similar experiences with the boys of employees that worked for 
him. Patterson believed that a garden would be "a place to foster the physical, 
mental, and moral development of the boys of his employees and of the neighborhood 
surrounding the factory" (Basset, 1979, p. 18). 

In Bachert's (1976) analysis of the school garden movement in America from 
1 890-1910, he discusses how school gardens were used in conjunction the with 
school curriculum. Henry Lincoln Clapp was the first to recognize the link of the 
school garden with the curriculum being taught. He wrote: "To ignore the garden as 
an educational means in elementary schools is as unwise as it is to leave it out of the 
kindergartens." Clapp went on to add that "the absence of the school garden is the 
most radical defect in our elementary education" (Clapp, 1901, p. 611 as cited by 
Bachert, 1976, p. 86). The Report of the Commissioner of Education for the Year 
1898-99 stated that "gardens are a necessary part of school and attain their 
educational value by being connected with them" (Gang, 1900, p. 1080 as cited by 
Bachert, 1976, p. 87). The American Park and Outdoor Art Association strongly 
defended school gardens and the values that came from them. The association felt 



48 

that gardens were the answer to a better education for children and as a means to 
solve many of the problems that existed in society (Bachert, 1976). School gardens 
were also thought of as tools to teach many classroom subjects. In a book entitled 
How to Make School Gardens: A Manual for Teachers and Pupils, by Hemenway 
(1903 as cited by Bachert, 1976) wrote that school gardens could be used to teach 
practically every subject taught in the classroom. Lessons on plant life, science 
lessons, arithmetic, geography, art, nature study, reading, language, composition, 
spelling, and physical education were all cited as subject areas that could be 
addressed using and teaching with school gardens (Bachert, 1976). 

The spread of school gardens throughout America was most predominant in 
the major cities in the early 1900's, with the movement spreading as far as Honolulu, 
Hawaii. DeMarco (1999) states that the use of school gardens has fluctuated since 
the early 1900's due to the social and educational climate of the times. As teaching 
and learning styles change, so does the acceptance or rejection of school gardens as 
teaching tools. There has been little documentation of the school garden movement 
since 1910, however the plethora of anecdotal articles written by educators on school 
gardens is a testament that the movement is still alive today. 

Benefits of School Gardens 

In addition to the benefits cited by proponents of early school gardens, other 
educators and researchers have recognized the benefits of school gardens to children. 
Upon conclusion of his survey of the school garden movement from 1890 to 1910, 
Bachert (1976) concluded that youth garden programs provided several benefits to 
students. These benefits included physical improvement, sharpening of mental 



: 49 

faculties, social gains, value for special populations, economic value, and moral 
growth. 

Maria Montessori (1912) was one of the first educators to document the 
benefits gardening could have on school children. Montessori recognized several 
benefits of gardening with children. The first benefit she noticed was that children 
began to care for living things and life. In having to care for living things - plants - 
so that they would stay alive, Montessori found that children were learning 
responsibility. Another benefit recognized by Montessori was that children were 
learning how to accomplish tasks independent of their teacher, and therefore they 
were becoming more self-reliant. Waiting for plants to grow requires patience, 
another virtue Montessori witnessed developing in her students. Montessori believed 
allowing children to work outside in the garden gave them opportunities to 
intelligently contemplate nature. Finally, Montessori noted that working in the 
garden helped her students to work together and gain interpersonal skills. 

Other educators have also testified to the benefits of school gardens. Based on 
a review of literature, four categories of school garden benefits were identified. The 
following is a categorization of the perceived benefits of school gardens discussed in 
anecdotal articles: 1) moral development, 2) academic learning, 3) sense of 
community, and 4) environmental awareness. 

Moral Development 

School gardens are a place to develop social skills such as sharing, teamwork, 
and cooperation (Becker, 1995; Berghom, 1988; Canaris, 1995; Gwynn, 1988; In 
Virginia, 1992; Neer, 1990). Another virtue observed in children who use school 



50 

gardens is patience (Craig, 1997; Pivnick, 1994). Other developmental benefits 
witnessed by educators are self-control, pride in a product and their garden (Becker, 
1995; Braun, 1989; Craig, 1997; Dwight, 1992; Neer, 1990), increased self-esteem 
(Craig, 1997), self-confidence (Chawla, 1994; Dwight, 1992), and a sense of self- 
reliance and accomplishment (Henry & DeLauro, 1996). Teachers also recognized 
that their students were developing the skills of leadership, organization, planning 
(Berghom, 1988), responsibility (Canaris, 1995; Gwynn, 1988), and discipline for 
being on time, following directions, and making decisions (Dwight, 1 992). Several 
teachers observed their students developing a work ethic: a widened understanding of 
work - that work can be personally meaningful (Canaris, 1995), that work is useful 
and appreciated (Braun, 1989; Dwight, 1992), and a respect of work (Becker, 1995). 
Finally, positive feelings toward school and a desire to participate in school activities 
was noticed in students who were part of a school garden program (Lucas, 1995; 
Stetson, 1991). 

Academic Learning 

One of the first benefits teachers point out about school gardens is how they 
make learning fun (Stetson, 1991), exciting (Gwynn, 1988), and promote an 
enthusiastic response from students (Canaris, 1995). Educators also point out that 
school gardens aid in problem solving, observation, and predicting skills (Nelson, 
1988; Stetson, 1991). School gardens also help students gain better understandings of 
social studies, math, science (Stetson, 1991), the process of getting food from the 
field to the table (Braun, 1989; Canaris, 1995), life cycles, habitats, weather, plants 
(Gwynn, 1988; Oehring, 1993), nutrition (Canaris, 1995), and abstract concepts 



51 

(Kutsunai, 1994). Braun (1989) contends that the garden helps students to apply what 
they learn in one subject to concepts they have learned in other subjects. The 
educational benefits of school gardens are reported to be the result of hands-on 
learning and experiences (Barron, 1993; Craig, 1997 In Virginia, 1992) as well as the 
real world and direct experiences (Kutsunai, 1994). Teachers also report that the 
teaching and learning in the garden leads to higher science scores (Stetson, 1991) and 
improved academic achievement (Braun, 1989). 

Sense of Community 

According to many teachers, the garden is an entity that promotes a sense of 
community both in terms of students contributing to and feeling a part of the 
community. Sharing the garden with others (Neer, 1990) and donating grown 
produce to food banks (Canaris, 1995) are two cited examples of how students feel 
they contribute to the community. Bringing in senior citizens to help with the garden 
also fosters a sense of community connectedness (Barron, 1993; Canaris, 1995). 
Allowing students and seniors to work together is seen to cultivate a connection 
between the young and old (Braun, 1989; Dwight, 1992). A sense of community is 
also developed through parental involvement (Kutsunai, 1994) and interaction and 
commonality with other students (Dwight, 1992; In Virginia, 1992). 

Environmental Awareness 

According to Pennington (1988, p. 1), "gardening is a transforming activity 
that moves us from ignorance to understanding and appreciation, from passivity to 
action, from a state of dependence to one of independence with nature and others in 



52 

our community." Many educators recognize the potential of a school garden to 
accomplish this claim. Several teachers credit the school garden as helping students 
to recognize the importance of nature and to gain an appreciation of nature (Gwynn, 
1988). Gardens are reported to help students connect and bond to nature (Chawla, 
1994; Pivnick, 1994), as well as help students discover the wonders of nature 
(Becker, 1995). These connections to nature are important and necessary if children 
are to develop an envirormiental ethic (Pivnick, 1 994). Teachers point out that school 
gardens help students develop respect for living things (Stetson, 1991), gain 
environmental sensitivity and empathy (Chawla, 1994), as well as teach children to 
nurture and care for living things (Canaris, 1995). Heffernan (1994, p. 223) states 
that "gardens are the most accessible places for children to learn about nature's 
beauty, interconnections, power, fragility, and solace" and that "gardening shows 
children they can bring beauty into the world with their ovm actions." 

These anecdotal citations provide insight into how school gardens may affect 
the students that use them. While these benefits are observations of individual 
teachers, there is merit to their recognition that school gardens benefit their students. 
These observations help researchers shape their research questions and develop a 
strategy for carrying out empirical studies of school garden benefits. 

School Garden Research 

Research in the area of school gardens is limited even though school gardens 
have been in existence for hundreds of years. As is evident from the anecdotal 
descriptions of school garden benefits, there is agreement among teachers using 
school gardens that they are beneficial to the students. For the purposes of this study, 



53 



teachers and students were the subjects of research. Therefore, this section will 
outline the existing research conducted with both teachers and students using school 
gardens. 

Research with Teachers Using School Gardens 

DeMarco (1999) carried out a study to determine the factors that aid in the 
development and successful implementation of elementary school gardens. Her study 
included a survey of 236 teachers who used school gardens and personal interviews 
with 28 teachers who were experienced using school gardens. All teachers surveyed 
or interviewed were selected from a sample of schools that had received a Youth 
Garden Grant from the National Gardening Association in 1994/1995 and 1995/1996. 

Analyses of the survey and interview data showed that there are several 
factors important to the success of school gardening programs. A sense of ownership 
of the garden by teachers and students was one of the most important factors 
identified. DeMarco explained that for the school garden to be used and accepted by 
teachers and students, all involved in the garden must feel ownership in order for 
them to take responsibility for the garden. Additionally, students must feel ownership 
of the learning that occurs in the garden and such learning should be spread 
throughout the curriculum. 

The final part of DeMarco's (1999) study was to assess how teachers' 
perceptions of the effectiveness of school gardens as a teaching tool. Almost all of 
the teachers in the study (96%) felt that school gardening was an effective teaching 
strategy that enhanced the learning of their students. This same percentage of 
teachers also felt that the school garden helped students learn and understand new 



54 

ideas and concepts. Additionally, all of the teachers surveyed and interviewed 
indicated that students' environmental attitudes became more positive after using the 
school garden. 

In a similar study, Skelly and Bradley (2000) conducted a survey of Florida 
elementary school teachers using school gardens to find out their perceptions of the 
importance of school gardens. Seventy-one teachers from 35 schools participated in 
the survey. The most popular types of gardens used by the teachers were flower 
(84%) and vegetable gardens (71%), with butterfly (41%) and herb (39%) gardens 
following. In most cases, teachers were using a combination of all types of gardens. 
Follow-up interviews with several teachers revealed that vegetable and butterfly 
gardens were used primarily for science lessons, while flower gardens were used to 
beautify school grounds. 

When asked why they used school gardens, all but two of the teachers (97%) 
remarked that the garden was used for environmental education, and a majority of the 
teachers (73%) noted that they used the garden for experiential learning. Eighty-four 
percent of the teachers felt that the garden helped their students learn better. 

Findings from these two studies showed that teachers are using school gardens 
and believe that school gardens enhanced the learning of their students. It is apparent 
that teachers in these studies understood the usefulness and the potential benefits of 
school gardens in the classroom and to their students. 

Research with Students using School Gardens 

Research focusing on students who use school gardens and subsequent 
benefits is limited. To date, only eight known documented research studies have 



55 

focused on the benefits students receive by participating in school garden programs. 
This section will review these eight research studies and how they relate to the current 
study. The research studies have been divided into those conducted through 
interview research and those conducted using survey research. 

Interview research 

Barker (1992) carried out a naturalistic inquiry study of the Hilltop 
Garden/Nature Center in Bloomington, Indiana to find out the meaning of the garden 
to participants. Barker conducted observations at the Center and interviewed 10 
participants to gain an understanding of how participants viewed the educational, 
leisure, and social aspects of the program. The researcher observed participants for 
25 of the 33 days the Center was open. She then conducted interviews with 9 
participants - 4 garden participants and 5 junior board members. Junior board 
members were different from garden participants in that members were selected by 
Center staff to be a board member based on students' previous experience with youth 
gardening, their ability to learn and apply skills, and their leadership potential. The 
junior board members interviewed were all older (ages 1 1 to 16) than the garden 
participants (ages 7 to 9) who were interviewed. 

After analyses of her observations and interviews, Barker noted several 
benefits of the garden program to participants. The first benefit Barker discussed was 
that participants really liked and enjoyed the youth gardening program. She 
described the participants as "happy, active, and involved" (p. 164). Second, she 
found from her interviews that the participants found the program fun. Further 
explanation of this finding led Barker to conclude that the garden participants found 



56 

the program to be fun because it allowed them to do things and have interesting 
experiences. Second to this reason, the garden participants thought the social aspects 
of the garden to be important. These reasons were reversed for the junior board 
members. 

r 

Another finding Barker (1 992) made was that the participants learned about 
nature and gardening. They learned specific knowledge and skills such as, how to 
garden, how to use and care for tools, how to create and follow a garden plan, how to 
harvest, and how to identify garden pests and weeds. Students also learned 
nutritional information about the vegetables they grew, and older students learned to 
identify the plants and flowers they were growing. Barker also found that the garden 
program gave participants a sense of pride. They gained this pride by showing off 
their garden plots, prize-winning vegetables, and garden craft projects. Participants in 
the program also reported that the garden gave them a sense of ownership and 
belonging. In relation to this finding. Barker observed that the youth garden program 
made the participants feel valued. Cooperation was another benefit Barker observed 
in the garden. Students worked together and shared their produce. For the older 
junior board members, Barker's observations and interviews also revealed that 
development of leadership skills was taking place. The one aspect all youth 
gardeners disliked about the gardening program was weeding. 

Alexander et al. (1995) carried out a similar qualitative study to explore the 
benefits of classroom gardens to students. The researchers interviewed 52 students in 
the second and third grades, 5 teachers, 3 parents, and 1 principal from an elementary 
school in Texas. From these interviews the researchers found that six themes 



57 

emerged from the interview data: "moral development, academic learning, 
parent/child/community interaction, pleasant experiences, the influence of the Master 
Gardener, and perceived problems" (p. 258). 

Interview data indicated that the garden gave students many opportunities to 
learn about life. These life lessons were described to be "delayed gratification, 
independence, cooperation, self-esteem, enthusiasm/anticipation, nurturing living 
things, motivation, pride in their activities, and exposure to role models from different 
walks of life" (p. 259). The academic learning theme centered on findings that school 
gardens allowed classroom lessons to be put into context that students could 
understand. Additionally, interviews showed that the garden was a place where 
hands-on learning, specifically about nature, could be experienced. 

One of the other themes present from this study was parent/child/community 
interaction. Teacher interviews revealed that parents enthusiastically supported 
school gardens and were encouraged by their children to start gardens at home. 
Teachers also stated that parents became more involved in school matters and the 
experiences of their children at school. Teachers also commented that they believed 
the garden gave their students a sense of being a part of their community, as the 
students and their families had to care for the gardens on weekends. 

Alexander et al. also found that school gardens provided a place students and 
teachers could have pleasant experiences. Many of these pleasant experiences came 
firom tangible outcomes: starting with soil and seeds and harvesting edible vegetables, 
being independent of mom and dad for food, having fun in the garden, getting hands 
dirty, and watching things grow. 



58 

Another theme present from the interviews was the role and influence of the 
Master Gardener. Master Gardeners are individuals who have engaged in continuing 
education courses to learn more about horticuhure and gardening experience. Master 
Gardeners are required to pass an exam and put in volunteer hours before the title of 
Master Gardener is conferred on an individual. Interviewed teachers found the 
Master Gardeners to be extremely helpful when gardening with students. The Master 
Gardeners helped create a better ratio of adults to students, provided knowledge of 
gardening to teachers who were novice gardeners, and helped provide a sense of 
community for the teachers and students (Alexander et al., 1995). 

When asked about problems with the garden program, the researchers 
received mostly positive comments. Some of the problems mentioned by teachers 
and students were that they did not have enough time to garden with students, that not 
all of the students in the school were able to participate, and that destruction of the 
garden occurred due to maintenance personnel or vandalism. Overall the researchers 
concluded that the classroom garden program was beneficial to all involved and that 
many positive benefits were derived from the experience. 

Survey research ^ 

In a study examining the track gardening program of Cleveland Public 
Schools, Wotowiec (1975) found that the gardening program accomplished many of 
the objectives set forth by the program. Analyses of a survey administered to 404 
students (3' through 6^ graders and junior and senior high school students) and their 
parents indicated that the objectives of developing character, promoting physical 
health, teaching conservation, providing practical skills, developing work habits, 



59 

providing for career exploration, and providing fresh vegetables were met. 
Additional analyses of the survey results, however, showed that students and parents 
did not believe the garden program promoted practical application of academic skills 
and knowledge. 

School garden studies are not confined to the United States. In a study of 
school farms in Japan, Konoshima (1995) reported that participation in agricultural 
activities produced a wide variety of educational benefits, especially in primary 
school students. To identify the benefits to students, Konoshima distributed 
questionnaires to students. Examination of the survey data showed that working on 
the school farms helped students recognize the importance of nature. Additionally, 
students developed a better understanding of work and their self-control was 
enhanced. Of the students surveyed, 80% of the junior high students reported they 
had fim in the garden. Fifty percent of third graders and 70% of first graders wished 
to have the same farming experience in their next grade level. Questionnaires 
distributed to parents indicated that most parents (9 1 %) supported the school farm 
projects, as these projects stimulated in their children a willingness to work on their 
family farms and sparked interest in farming that before participating in the projects 
had been dormant. 

Sheffield (1992) conducted a study to find out the cognifive and affecfive 
benefits of an interdisciplinary garden-based curriculum on underachieving fourth 
and fifth-grade students. The underachieving studems for both the control and 
experimental group were students who were behind one or more grade levels in 
reading and math, were identified by their teachers as having difficulties in school 



60 



and had been held back at least once. The control group consisted of 12 students 
while the experimental group consisted of 9 students. The experimental group for 
this study received instruction daily for four hours via an interdisciplinary garden 
curriculum developed by the National Gardening Association. Garden lessons were 
incorporated into reading, writing, arithmetic, history, social studies, art, music, 
health, physical education, and creative thinking exercises. 

Sheffield's analyses showed that the experimental group performed 
significantly better in the areas of reading comprehension, total reading, spelling, and 
written language. There were no significant differences found between the control 
and experimental group in the areas of mathematics, reading recognition, and general 
information. 

No significant differences in self-esteem between the control and 
experimental group were found. However, when the individual areas were combined 
and weighted to give a total score, analysis showed that the experimental group 
scored significantly higher than the control group. This finding led the researcher to 
conclude that the interdisciplinary garden-based curriculum had a positive impact on 
students' self-esteem. 

No significant difference among the control and experimental groups' 
attitudes toward school were found. Sheffield added that while the difference in 
attitude scores was not significant, the experimental group did score higher and there 
was evidence, witnessed by teachers, which may have indicated a more positive 
attitude toward school. 



61 

In a similar study, Waliczek (1997) looked at how school gardens affected 
students' self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, attitude toward school, and 
environmental attitudes. To conduct this study, Waliczek enlisted the participation of 
eight schools and 550 students from Texas and Kansas. Schools participating in the 
study received garden materials and used Project GREEN (Waliczek & Zajicek, 
1996) - a garden-based curriculum incorporating math and science lessons into 
garden activities. 

Waliczek' s findings showed that there were no significant differences among 
the control and experimental groups on psychological measures. Students in the 
control and experimental groups had similar attitudes toward school, interpersonal 
relationships, and self-esteem. Analyses also showed that there was no difference 
between the pretest and posttest scores for students 8 to 1 1 years old. There were, 
however, significant differences in pre- and posttest scores of adolescent (12- to 18- 
year-old) students. In this case, adolescents' posttest scores were significantly more 
negative than pretest scores. This finding was attributed to students not wanting to 
get dirty and students not being academically challenged by the garden activities. 
Waliczek examined the data to see if there were any differences related to the 
demographic variables of gender, ethnicity, age group and grade levels, school, place 
of residence, and previous garden experience. Of these variables only gender and age 
group showed significant differences. Females were foimd to have more positive 
attitudes toward schools than males. 

When investigating the effect of school gardens and Project GREEN on 
students' environmental attitudes, Waliczek found no significant differences between 



62 

pre- and posttest scores. Additionally, analyses were run to determine if there were 
any differences in environmental attitude scores based on age, ethnicity, and gender. 
Of these variables, ethnicity and gender showed statistically significant differences. 
Females scored higher on the posttest than males and while all ethnic groups had 
positive environmental attitudes, Caucasian students had significantly higher scores 
than African- American and Hispanic students. 

In another study using the Project GREEN (Skelly & Zajicek, 1997) format, 
Skelly (1997) examined the effects of an interdisciplinary garden-based curriculum 
on the environmental attitudes of participating students. Four elementary schools in 
Texas agreed to participate in the study. This study followed a control/experimental 
group design with second and fourth grade students. The experimental group 
consisted of 102 second grade students and 52 fourth grade students. The control 
group was composed of 33 second grade students and 51 fourth grade students. 

Analysis of data showed that students in the experimental group had 
significantly more positive environmental attitudes than students in the control group. 
Further analysis of the data indicated that when examining individual schools, the 
experimental group at each school scored significantly higher than the control group. 
This finding indicated that students participating in the garden program had more 
positive environmental attitudes than students who did not use the garden program. 
Results also showed that second grade students (8- to 9-year-olds) had more positive 
environmental attitudes than fourth grade students (10- to 1 1 -year-olds). No 
significant differences were found between environmental attitude scores and the 
demographic variables of gender, ethnicity, and place of residence. Further analysis 



showed that the number of outdoor-related experiences a student had positively 
correlated to their environmental attitude score. 

One of the most recent studies of children and school gardens was made by 
Lineberger and Zajicek (2000) to assess if using a school garden and nutritional- 
garden based curriculum affected students' attitudes and behaviors regarding fruits 
and vegetables. The researchers enrolled five elementary schools in Texas to 
participate in the study. The sample was composed of 1 1 1 third- and fifth-grade 
students. A pretest/posttest experimental design was used. 

Findings showed that students' attitudes toward vegetables became 
significantly more positive after gardening. In contrast, no differences were found in 
students' attitudes toward fruit. Analysis of students' attitudes toward fruit and 
vegetable snacks found that after gardening, students' attitudes toward snacks were 
more positive. Further analysis showed that female and younger students (third 
grade) had the greatest improvement in snack attitude scores. Although students' 
attitudes toward vegetables improved, students' fmit and vegetable consumption did 
not improve significantly. 

In summary, many of the anecdotal benefits cited by educators have been 
legifimatized through qualitative and quantitative research studies. Inspection of 
these anecdotes made by educators and findings of the research studies indicates that 
school gardens can be beneficial to students who participate in them. While research 
has explored the variables of self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, and attitudes 
toward schools none have explored how school gardens may impact the posifive 
development of children. Additionally, ve^ few of these studies have explored the 



64 



benefits of school gardens to students within a theoretical framework based on 
developmental and educational theories. The focus of this research was to design a 
study of school gardens that would allow for the context of a school garden to be 
placed within current theories of child development and to determine how such a 
context might ultimately affect the child. To determine the effects a school garden 
might have on students' development, several dependent variables were identified. 
These variables included youth developmental assets, student attitudes toward 
science, and student attitudes toward the environment. Literature addressing these 
variables is discussed in the following sections. 

Youth Developmental Assets 

The Search Institute, an independent, nonprofit organization committed to 
advancing the well being of children and adolescents, developed the model of 
developmental assets through extensive research and consultations with education, 
child development, and community experts. The Institute's framework of assets is 
the product of research involving more than 500,000 6'*^ - 12"" grade students in over 
600 communities throughout the country (Scales & Leffert, 1997). In the past, 
policies and programs for youth have primarily focused on preventive measures. 
Studies, however, are finding that these preventive policies and programs are not 
working. In response to these studies, the Search Institute developed the asset 
framework to help adults identify the assets that can promote positive youth 
development. 

The asset framework is composed of 40 developmental assets which pertain to 
all aspects of a young person's life, including family, school, and community 



65 

influences. Search Institute views these assets as "a comprehensive vision of what 

young people need in the first two decades of life to become healthy, caring, 

responsible, and contributing members of our society" (Benson, Roehlkepartain, & 

Leffert, 1 997, p. 1 5). Search Institute contends that asset development is a 

continuous process that children proceed through and is an interaction of both nature 

and nurture aspects of development. Natural development is the development of 

children due to their genetic makeup. Development by means of nurturing is due to 

children's upbringing and life experiences. At the very early stages of development, 

(birth - 2 years), external assets are a necessity as they lay the foundation for building 

the internal assets. It is argued that the more developmental assets a child is in 

possession of, the more healthy, caring, responsible, and contributing member of 

society he or she will be (Benson et al., 1997). 

The asset framework is divided into two dimensions, external assets and 

internal assets. External assets are: 

factors that surround young people with the support, empowerment, 
boundaries, expectations, and opportunities that guide them to behave in 
healthy ways and to make wise choices. These assets are provided by many 
people and social contexts, including families, schools, neighbors, religious 
congregations, and organizations. (Benson et al. 1997, p. 16) 

Internal assets are: 

the commitments, values, competencies, and self-perceptions that must be 
nurtured within young people to provide them with internal compasses to 
guide their behaviors and choices. The four internal-asset categories are 
commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies, and positive 
identity. (Benson et al., 1997, p. 16) 

For the purposes of this study, internal assets were the focus, concentrating on assets 

from 3 of the 4 categories: positive values, social competencies, and commitment to 



-.,.,.- 66 



learning. These 3 categories were selected for study because they included assets that 
were cited in anecdotal claims by teachers and in research studies examining school 
gardens. Positive values are "important internal compasses to guide children's 
priorities and choices." Social competencies are assets that develop the "personal and 
interpersonal skills children need to negotiate through the maze of choices, options, 
and relationships they face." A commitment to learning is defined as a "development 
of intellectual curiosity and skills to gain new knowledge" (Benson et. al. 1997, p. 
18). From these three categories, four specific assets; responsibility, interpersonal 
competence, achievement motivation, and school engagement were focused on and 
whether children using and participating in a school garden gain these assets. These 
assets were chosen because they represented the type of benefits found by educators 
and school garden researchers to be evident in students after participating in school 
garden programs. 

Positive Values 

Values are defined as "internal compasses that guide people in developing 
priorities and making choices" (Benson et al., 1 997, p. 65). The positive value 
component of the asset framework focuses on both values that affect others as well as 
values that develop personal character. The development of personal character is a 
process that does not occur over night. Children begin developing character during 
infancy and continue through childhood. The intentional nurturing of these character 
skills is necessary if children are to develop positive values such as caring, equality 
and social justice, integrity, honesty, responsibility, and restraint (Benson et al., 
1997). For the purposes of this study, responsibility was the asset focused on. 



67 



Responsibility. Responsibility is an asset that children develop when they 
learn to accept and take personal accountability (Benson et al., 1997). Webster's 
defines responsibility as "the quality or state of being able to answer for one's 
conduct and obligations" (Mish, 1996, p. 998). 

Social Competencies 

Social competencies are skills that help children cope with problems they may 
encounter as they experience situations they are unfamiliar with or pose some threat 
to their well being. Building and developing social competencies enables children to 
"deal with the many choices, challenges, and opportunities they face in life" (Benson 
et al., 1997, p. 71). Assets dealing with social competencies include planning and 
decision-making, interpersonal competence, cultural competence, resistance skills, 
and peaceful conflict resolution. The asset of interpersonal competence was examined 
in this study. 

Interpersonal competence. Interpersonal competence refers to a child's 
ability to interact with adults and peers as well as to make friends. Children with 
interpersonal competence are also thought to be able to empathize, have sensitivity, 
and are able to articulate their feelings to others (Benson et al., 1997; Scales & 
Leffert, 1999). 
Commitment to Learning 

Learning is a lifelong process that neither begins nor ends with formal 
schooling. Curiosity is natural to children and as they grow up, this curious nature 
can either be enhanced or may wane. A commitment to learning is an asset that will 



68 

instill in children a desire to learn - not only academics, but other skills that may hold 
some extracurricular interest to them. A commitment to learning is a skill that 
engages children's curiosity and encourages learning throughout childhood and on 
into adulthood. Assets that make up the commitment to learning category are 
achievement motivation, school engagement, homework, bonding to school, and 
reading for pleasure (Benson et al., 1997). Each of these assets works to encourage 
learning, however, for the purposes of this study the assets of achievement motivation 
and school engagement were studied. 

Achievement motivation. Achievement motivation is a young person's 
motivation to do well in school. Students' motivation to achieve is necessary for 
them to have vocational success. Achievement motivation in children is usually 
related to their sense of pride in their ability and sense of ftilfillment (Benson et al., 
1997). 

School engagement. The other commitment to learning asset is school 
engagement. Scales and Leffert (1999, p. 122) define school engagement as the 
"feeling of connectedness to school." Theoretically, if students feel like they are part 
of the school and have a vested interest in the school, their commitment to learning 
will increase as will their performance in school. 

These four assets - responsibility, interpersonal competence, achievement 
motivation, and school engagement - were chosen as dependent variables for this 
study because of their mention in anecdotal articles, research findings, and interviews 
with teachers. When assessing positive youth development in terms of assets, it is not 



69 

whether students have a higher level of responsibility per se than others, it is whether 
a student is in possession of that asset entirely. Search Institute contends that the 
more developmental assets a child is in possession of, the more healthy, caring, 
responsible, and contributing member of society he or she will be (Benson et al., 
1997). Therefore, this study examined whether students participating in school 
garden programs had possession of any of these four assets. 

Student Attitudes Toward Science 

While research studies have explored students' attitudes toward school, and 
several educators have remarked at how well the garden lends itself to teaching 
science and improving science skills and knowledge (Gwynn, 1988; Nelson, 1988; 
Oehring, 1993; Stetson, 1991), no study to date has examined the effects of a school 
garden experience on students' attitudes toward science. Having positive attitudes 
toward science has been shown to increase a students' interest in science and led them 
to take more science courses (Farenga & Joyce, 1998; Simpson & Oliver, 1990). 
Students' attitudes toward science are usually high in elementary school, but tend to 
become more negative as they progress to higher grades (Ayers & Price, 1975; Yager 
& Penick, 1989). Stimulating interest in science at an early age may increase 
students' interest in science as they continue through school. Theoretically, a school 
garden may be a place that interest in science is stimulated. The following section 
summarizes the current research on students' attitudes toward science and how these 
attitudes may be influenced. 

The three major goals of science instruction as stated by Ayers and Price 
(1975, p. 3 1 1) are "a development of scientific literacy, a positive attitude toward 



70 

science, and the development of an understanding of and ability to use the scientific 
method." They add that in order for a person to develop scientific literacy and to 
understand and use the scientific method, they must first have a positive attitude 
toward science. To change students' attitudes toward science, an understanding of 
how students view science in necessary. 

In a study of science related experiences, Farenga and Joyce (1997) found that 
young boys had a significantly higher number of science related experiences than 
girls. They suggested that the high number of experiences boys had provided them 
with "an a priori sense of comfort, curiosity and competence in science - or 'science 
sensibility' ... not enjoyed by most young girls" (Farenga & Joyce, 1 997, p. 565). 
The researchers added that out-of-school science experiences are becoming 
recognized as an important building block for the foundation of science interest and 
achievement. Since girls usually have less science-related experiences than boys, this 
may account for the under representation of giris in science (Farenga & Joyce, 1997; 
Fox, 1976; Kahle & Lakes, 1983; Kahle, Parker, Remiie, & Riley,1993). 

Farenga and Joyce (1998) also conducted a study of high-ability boys and 
girls ages 9 -13 and found that attitudes toward science are more predictive of science 
course selection for giris than for boys. Their findings suggest that females with 
more positive attitudes toward science are more likely to have a greater interest in 
science classes. This study also showed that girls' poor attitudes toward science are a 
factor in the low number of science courses they take and this subsequently limits 
their aspirations in science-related careers. Farenga and Joyce contended that when 
these findings are examined in light of research that finds sex-role stereotyped career 



71 

interests are in place by the second grade (Silverman, 1986), efforts need to be taken 
to improve girls' interest in and attitudes toward science. The researchers 
recommended that parents engage their children in activities that help them recognize 
the importance and relevance of science in their everyday lives. Additionally, they 
suggested that informal science activities may help provide prior experiences that can 
help foster an interest and a positive attitude toward science for girls and boys alike. 
Farenga and Joyce also suggested that educators should make science more appealing 
through hands-on, inquiry based activities. 

Recent research concerning the gender differences in science achievement 
have suggested that these differences begin to emerge in middle school and are 
usually set by the time students reach their senior year of high school (American 
Association of University Women [AAUW], 1992; Linn & Hyde, 1989; Oakes, 
1 990). Additionally, these studies have also found that female high school students 
enroll in fewer advanced science courses, have lower test scores and choose fewer 
science-related careers than their male counterparts (AAUW, 1992, Oakes, 1990). In 
response to these studies, Catsambis (1995) examined gender differences in science 
attitudes and achievement among a national sample of eighth-grade students. Results 
from this study indicated that females from this sample did not have lower science 
achievement tests scores, grades, and class enrollment than their male classmates. 
However, this study did find that female students had less positive attitudes toward 
science, tended to participate in fewer science-related extracurricular activities, and 
were less interested in science-related careers than the males in their grade. 



72 

In addition to examination of gender differences among attitude, achievement 
and aspirations toward science and related careers, Catsambis (1995) explored 
differences among ethnic groups. The study found that minority students have very 
positive attitudes toward science despite their low test scores. This disparity among 
attitudes and scores is thought to be the result of external environmental factors such 
as family, community, and school being more important to achievement than are 
attitudes. The limited number of females and minorities in science-related fields may 
be due, in part, to poor attitudes toward science and poor performance in science. 
Females' poor attitudes toward science were thought to be related to gender-role 
perceptions and a belief that the science field is male dominated (Handley & Morse, 
1984). Additionally, Farenga and Joyce (1998, p. 250) state that "young high-ability 
girls perceive the role of a scientist [as] not conform[ing] to their social sphere of 
possible options." 

In conclusion, Catsambis suggested that efforts to improve students' 
achievement and attitudes toward science should begin in the elementary school 
years. These efforts should also be focused on gender and ethnic groups such that 
steps are taken to improve females' attitudes toward science, interest in related 
careers and to improve the achievement scores of minority students so that they each 
have an equal opportunity for science-related careers. 

In another study exploring science attitudes, Simpson and Oliver (1990) 
carried out a comprehensive 10-year longitudinal study with students in the 6^, l"^, 
8 ,9 , and 10' grades to determine the major influences on attitude toward and 
achievement in science. Three major categories of independent variables were 



73 

identified and addressed in the study. These variables were related to home, school, 
and individual characteristics. This 10-year study yielded many important findings 
about attitudes and achievement in science. With this population of students, science 
attitudes decreased each year. Attitudes also decreased as students progressed from 
the beginning of the school year to the middle of the school year. This decline in 
science attitudes also occurred across the grades from sixth through tenth and became 
neutral in grade ten. Attitudes toward science were consistently higher among males. 
In terms of achievement motivation in science, the results were similar to those for 
attitudes, with a decline within each year and across the grades, and by grade ten 
becoming neutral. Females had consistently higher achievement motivation scores in 
science. 

Simpson and Oliver (1980) also found a strong positive correlation between 
students' attitudes toward science and their friends' attitudes toward science. This 
relationship was most pronounced in the ninth grade. The researchers suggested that 
this phenomenon was most likely due to the importance of friendships for adolescent 
students, and thus students were more likely to be influenced by their peer groups. 
School, in particular the classroom, was found to have the strongest influence on 
attitudes toward science. Individual and home factors also contributed significantly 
to students' attitudes, but it was the classroom setting and curriculum that most 
strongly accounted for students' decisions to embark on future science courses. In 
contrast, students' self-related variables - science self-concept, achievement 
motivation, and science anxiety - were the strongest predictors of a students' 
achievement in science. Further exploration found that attitudes toward science play 



. - ^: 74 

a critical role in determining the amount of science a student experiences in future 
endeavors. 

Simpson and Oliver (1990) also stated that if students enter middle school 
with positive attitudes toward science and have positive initial experiences with 
science, they are more likely to continue taking and being successful in additional 
science courses. They warned that if students receive little support from home, are 
not exposed to science in elementary school, and do not have positive initial 
experiences in middle school science courses, they are unlikely to continue taking 
science courses. These students will then, in most cases, end high school with little 
knowledge of and commitment to science. 

Yager and Yager (1985) carried out a study to determine the perceptions of 
science held by third-, seventh-, and eleventh-grade students. They found that one 
third of elementary school students perceived that their teachers really like science, 
compared to the 75% of secondary school students having the same perception. In 
the third grade, students indicated that their teachers make science exciting. This was 
also true for secondary school students but at decreasing levels. Sixty percent of third 
graders perceived that their teachers know much about science, 65% of seventh 
graders, and 80% of eleventh graders perceived the same. Close to half (40%) of 
third grade science teachers were perceived as willing to admit they do not know the 
answers to science questions. This figure drops around 20% for seventh and eleventh 
grades, respectively. 

This study also explored the perception of science classes as fun, exciting, and 
interesting. More than half of the third graders reported their science classes as being 



75 

exciting, flin, and interesting. This figure dropped to less than 50% for the upper 
grade levels. Similarly, few third graders found their science class to be boring. In 
contrast, over one-fourth of seventh graders and one-third of eleventh graders found 
science classes to be boring. 

Studies have also explored how exemplary science programs impact students' 
attitudes toward science. Exemplary programs are those that are recognized by the 
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Search for Excellence in Science 
Education program. Exemplary programs as identified by the NSTA are those 
programs that are . 

locally and personally relevant, they focus on applications and technology, 
and they give experience with the formulation of insightful, long-term 
resolutions of our time. Furthermore, they illustrate science as an ongoing and 
human enterprise and they provide students with direct experiences with 
ideas, materials, use of information, and making decisions. They focus on 
personal, societal, and career goals. Finally, they begin at the level of impact 
of science on the community rather than ending at this level. (Yager & Penick 
1989, pp. 55-56) 

Studies with students in exemplary science programs found that students in such 
programs have more positive attitudes toward science than do students in regular 
programs. These studies have also found that in contrast to other students, exemplary 
science students' attitudes do not worsen over time (Yager, 1988; Yager & Penick, 
1989). 

One such study of exemplary science programs carried out by Yager and 
Penick (1989) showed that students in exemplary programs perceived science as 
being fun, exciting, and interesting. Students in these programs also perceived 
science as being less boring. Exemplary program students, in comparison to regular 
science students, felt that they were more comfortable in their science classes. 



76 

believed that their teachers liked for them to ask questions and share ideas, and 
viewed their teachers as being able to make science exciting. This study also found 
that exemplary program students had a more realistic view of science than did regular 
program students and that their science classes prepared them to make choices. 

A study conducted by Basham (1 994) looked at how the use of an 
interdisciplinary environmental unit, which included lessons on pollution, rainforest 
devastation, recycling, and Earth appreciation for fourth-grade students, affected their 
attitudes toward science and learning. Students participated in activities that allowed 
them to be active participants in solving problems related to the environmental 
lessons. Basham found that after participating in the two-week interdisciplinary 
program about the environment, fourth-grade students had more positive attitudes 
toward science after the program than before the program. 

Yager and McCormack (1989, p. 49) found that "students report that typical 
[science] courses lessen curiosity, excitement, ability to create explanations, ability to 
reason and to make critical decisions based on evidence." Science classes that limit 
students' creativity are usually found to limit many of the qualities that are inherently 
scientific. Yager and McCormack stated that if science attitudes are positive and 
students have opportunities to be creative, students' understanding and knowledge of 
science will be enhanced. Furthermore, they stated that most traditional science 
programs do not allow for creativity and even discourage creativity. Traditional 
science programs usually focus on teaching students information acquisition instead 
of on instructional techniques that foster creative thought and positive attitudes. 
Yager and McCormack also found that many science teachers believe that basic 



77 

science information and process skills provide enough knowledge for students 
needing science and that positive attitudes are not that important. 

In response to the way science classes are usually taught, Yager and 
McCormack (1989) developed a model that explains the logical way that science 
should be taught. They contend that science teaching should begin with the 
applications and comiection to the real world. This understanding of how science is 
relevant to the real world and to everyday life will lead students to see the need to 
study the processes and information pertaining to science. To teach students the facts 
and processes first is to make them differentiate between "real world science (based 
on personal experiences) and school science (based on the information included in 
textbooks and course outlines)" (Yager & McCormack, 1989, p. 50). Ideally, 
students need to be taught all aspects of science (applications, facts, and processes), in 
traditional science courses this rarely occurs. 

In summary, instilling positive attitudes toward science in children must start 
at an early age (Catsambis, 1995; Farenga & Joyce, 1998; Simpson & Oliver, 1990; 
Yager & McConnack, 1985; Yager & Yager, 1989). These researchers have also 
found that for students to continue to have an interest in science and to explore the 
possibility of science-related careers, positive science attitudes must be stimulated in 
elementary school. Suggestions for stimulating interest and promoting positive 
attitudes include providing out of school science experiences (Farenga & Joyce, 
1997), informal science activities, and hands-on and inquiry-based science activities 
(Farenga & Joyce, 1998). All of these suggestions can be carried out in a school 
garden. School gardens are usually outside the classroom and may seem to students 



78 

to be separate from their indoor science lessons. These out of classroom experiences 
in the garden may give boys and girls equal opportunities to experience science in a 
fun and exciting way. Farenga and Joyce (1998) suggest that these experiences are 
ways to stimulate positive science attitudes and increase students' interest in science. 
Additionally, Simpson and Oliver (1990) found that the classroom and curriculum are 
very influential on students' attitudes toward science. A school garden is a part of the 
classroom and curriculum, and since a garden can provide hands-on experiences, 
informal science activities, and out of school experiences as suggested by researchers, 
this type of classroom experience may stimulate students' interest in and promote 
positive attitudes toward science. 

Although research has shown that students' attitudes and perceptions of 
science are positive in the third grade, these usually decline as the student progresses 
to the upper grades (Simpson & Oliver, 1 990; Yager & Yager, 1 985). Studies of 
students in exemplary science programs have shown, however, that students' attitudes 
toward science were positive and continued to stay positive as they moved up in 
grade level (Yager & Penick, 1989). Yager and McCormack (1989) suggest that 
creativity in school science programs and a focus on the real-world connections and 
applications can provide students with positive experiences with science. Exemplary 
programs were those that stimulated curiosity, made real world connections, and 
helped students see the impact of science in their lives and in the world. School 
gardens, if designed and used properly, can give students the opportunity to 
experience creative science, real world applications, and understand how science 
relates to them. Gardens are inherently scientific and, as such, teachers often use them 



79 

to enhance science lessons. Using gardens for the purposes of teaching science in an 
informal, more exciting manner may be a way to stimulate interest in science and 
provide students with the positive attitude toward science that is needed to help 
students stay mterested in science and possibly even make a career out of science. 

Student Attitudes Toward the Environment 

Promoting positive envirormiental attitudes in elementary students through the 
use of school gardens has been witnessed by many educators (Anon., 1992; Barron, 
1993; Canaris, 1995; Dwight, 1992; Kutsunai, 1994; Montessori, 1912) and several 
researchers (Barker, 1992; Alexander et al., 1995; Skelly, 1997; Waliczek, 1997). All 
but two Florida elementary school teachers surveyed in a study used school gardens 
to teach environmental education (Skelly & Bradley, 2000). Most of the research 
conducted with children's environmental attitudes has been conducted with students 
participating in environmental education programs. 

Ramsey and Rickson ( 1 976) argue that increasing students' knowledge about 
the environment is necessary for changing students' attitudes toward the environment. 
Knowledge and attitude are both necessary for making informed decisions about 
environmental issues. Research has shown that environmental education programs do 
promote positive environmental attitudes in students (Bradley et al., 1997; Bryant & 
Hungerford, 1977; Dresner & Gill, 1994; Jaus, 1982, 1984; Ramsey 8c Rickson, 
1 976). Ramsey, Hungerford, and Volk (1 992) argue that education concerning 
environmental issues is necessary if a society is to carry out environmentally 
responsible behavior. Cohen and Horm-Wingerd (1993) found that students in 
kindergarten begin to develop attitudes about the environment at an early age. They 



80 

concluded from these findings that environmental education, even at an early age, can 
result in positive environmental attitudes that may carry on into adulthood. Kelly 
(1994) believes schools have the responsibility of educating children about the 
environment and how to ultimately care for and protect the environment. 

Harvey (1989) found that children's contact and experiences with nature can 
affect their environmental dispositions. Harvey found, in a study with 845 (8- to 1 1- 
year-old) children that past experiences with nature positively affected students' 
attitudes toward the environment. This study also revealed that any experience 
children had with vegetation was important to the prevention of poor environmental 
attitudes in children. 

Studies have also found that time in nature is a factor when developing 
students' environmental attitudes. The amount of time that students participate in 
wilderness programs was found by Shephard and Speelman (1985) to affect students' 
environmental attitudes. One other study of nature summer camps found that one or 

more weeks in contact with nature was enough time for students to develop positive 

environmental attitudes (Dresner & Gill, 1 984). 

Jaus' (1984) conducted a study of whether two hours of environmental 

instruction affected students attitudes toward the environment and their retention of 

these attitudes. Jaus found that two hours of instruction were effective in developing 

positive environmental attitudes in young children (third graders). Jaus also found 

that these attitudes were retained over time (after two years). 

Studies of teachers and school gardens and anecdotal testimony about school 

garden benefits show that teachers are using school gardens to teach students about 



; 81 

the environment. Recent studies have shown that school gardens can instill positive 
environmental attitudes in students that use them (Skelly, 1997; Waliczek, 1997). 
School gardens are places where teachers can teach environmental education and 
students can have contact with nature. This combination of education and experience 
is why a garden may be an ideal place to improve students' attitudes toward the 
environment. 

Summary of Literature 

Gardening is a very popular hobby that has been shown to have beneficial 
effects on people who garden. These benefits include peace and tranquility, a sense 
of control, and relaxation (Butterfield & Relf, 1992). Additional benefits that people 
gain from gardening include the enjoyment of producing food, learning, enjoyment of 
the outside, a sense of accomplishment, and a sense of fascination (Kaplan, 1973). 
Other studies have shown that gardening can also increase self-esteem and self- 
actualization for certain ethnic groups (Waliczek et al., 1996). With gardening being 
so popular and so beneficial, many primary and secondary education schools, past 
and present, have recognized the benefits gardening may have on students and 
therefore utilize school gardens. 

School gardens have been in existence for centuries and have spanned the 
globe. School gardens were thought to be places where students could learn about 
plants, agriculture, nature, and almost any subject being taught in schools (Bachert, 
1976). Early educators and professionals also recognized that school gardens could 
also be a place to foster moral development in terms of patience, responsibility, care 
and nurturing, and appreciation for nature (Montessori, 1912; Bachert, 1976). Even 



82 

today, educators recognize the benefits children can gain from school gardens. A 
review of anecdotal testimony of educators using school gardens shows that educators 
discuss five categories of school garden benefits. Moral development in terms of 
cooperation, patience, self-control, pride, leadership, an understanding of and 
appreciation for work, and responsibility were all cited by educators as benefits of 
students' school garden experiences (In Virginia, 1992; Becker, 1995; Berghom, 
1988; Braun, 1994; Canaris, 1995; Craig, 1997; Davies, 1995; Dwight, 1992; Gwynn, 
1988; Neer, 1990; Pivnick, 1994). Educators also recognized that students were 
benefiting academically from school garden experiences. Teachers discussed how 
school gardens made learning fun and exciting for their students, while at the same 
time helping in teaching them about problem-solving, observing, plants, weather, 
social studies, math, science, and nutrition (Braun, 1989; Canaris, 1995; Gwynn, 
1988;Oehring, 1993; Stetson, 1991). ' 

Teachers also recognized that school gardens were places where students 
could learn to be a part of their community as well as feel a part of their community 
(In Virginia, 1992; Barron, 1993; Braun, 1989; Canaris, 1995; Dwight, 1992; 
Kutsunai, 1994; Neer, 1990). Educating children about nature and giving them 
opportunities to be in contact with nature were other benefits cited by teachers. 
Educators contend that gardens help children connect and bond with nature, while 
also teaching them how to nurture and respect living things. Gardens are places that 
can help children develop environmentally positive attitudes (Becker, 1995; Canaris, 
1995; Chawla, 1994; Gwynn, 1988; Heffernan, 1994; Pennington, 1988; Pivnick, 
1994; Stetson, 1991). Many of these benefits are the observations of a single teacher 



83 

with his/her students. However there is documented research that supports the claims 
of these teachers. 

Research with teachers has shown that teachers use school gardens to enhance 
the learning of their students, promote experiential learning, and teach environmental 
education (DeMarco, 1999; Skelly & Bradley, 2000). Studies have also found that 
using school gardens to teach does in fact improve students' learning (Sheffield, 
1992) and environmental dispositions (Alexander et al., 1995; Barker, 1992; Skelly, 
1997; Waliczek, 1997; Wotowiec, 1975). The research exploring the benefits of 
school gardens has not, however, examined the role of school gardens in the 
development of school children in terms of youth developmental assets, attitudes 
toward science, and environmental attitudes within the context of cognitive 
developmental and educational theories. Exploring these variables within a 
theoretical framework was the purpose of this study. 

Youth developmental assets are skills children need to become healthy, 
productive, and responsible adults. The Search Institute has carried out extensive 
research documenting what assets are and how they contribute to the development of 
children and adolescents (Benson et al., 1997). Four assets, responsibility, 
achievement motivation, school engagement, and interpersonal competence were 
focused on for this study. These assets were investigated because they have been 
observed by teachers using school gardens. 

Many teachers and researchers indicate that school gardens are being used to 
teach science. Using a garden to teach science may ultimately influence children's 
attitudes toward science. Students' attitudes toward science have been the subject of 



84 

much research. Studies have been conducted to determine how students feel about 
science and what thek attitudes toward science mean for their future in science. 
These research studies have found that efforts need to be taken in elementary school 
to improve students' attitudes toward science. If this does not happen, students' 
attitudes toward science decline as they progress through school. These declining 
attitudes affect how many science classes students enroll in and ultimately, whether 
students consider careers in science (Catsambis, 1995; Farenga & Joyce, 1998; Yager 
& McCormack, 1985; Yager & Yager, 1989). Offering classes that make science fun, 
exciting, related to the real world, and informal can result in developing positive 
attitudes toward science in students. School gardens can provide teachers with a 
forum to enhance science lessons, make science creative, fun, and related to the real 
world. , 

A common theme running through historical, anecdotal, and research 
literature on school gardens is that school gardens provide children with a sense of 
nature and reasons to care for nature and the envirormient. Positive attitudes toward 
the environment are important factors for making informed decisions about 
environmental policies and issues (Ramsey & Rickson, 1976). Studies have shown 
that contact with nature, even in small amounts, can positively influence a child's 
attitudes toward the environment (Dresner & Gill, 1984; Harvey, 1989; Shephard & 
Speelman, 1985). Additionally, minimal instruction about the environment with third 
graders was shown to be effective in developing and retaining positive attitudes 
toward the environment (Jaus, 1984). Research exploring how school garden 
experiences impact students environmental attitudes has shown that gardens do 



85 



indeed result in students having more positive environmental attitudes (Skelly, 1997; 
Waliczek, 1997). 



CHAPTER 3 
METHODOLOGY 



The goal of this study was to explore the benefits of school gardens to the 
students participating in them. This chapter describes the procedures followed to 
develop teacher and student surveys, collect data, develop a typology of school 
garden intensity, and a discussion of univariate statistics. 

, Participant Selection 

The participants for this study were drawn from elementary schools in Florida 
participating in the Florida School Garden Competition and the Project SOAR 
(Sharmg Our Agricultural Roots) school gardening program. The Florida School 
Garden Competition is a statewide program developed by the University of Florida's 
Department of Environmental Horticulture and the EPCOT® International Flower 
and Garden Festival. The competition invites teachers in elementary schools 
throughout Florida to showcase their school gardens and compete for prizes. The 
Florida Department of Education provided an address list of all elementary schools in 
the state. A promotional brochure for the 1999-2000 competition and an interest- 
information card were sent to all elementary schools in Florida using this address list. 
Interested teachers or administrators with school gardens wishing to participate in the 
competition returned the interest-information card to the Department of 
Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida. Included on the interest- 



86 



. •■ ■ 87 

information card was a question asking teachers if they would be interested in 
participating in a University of Florida study examining the benefits of school 
gardens to students. A statement followed the question informing teachers that their 
willingness to participate or not participate in no way affected their chances in the 
Florida School Garden Competition. Third grade students were selected to be 
participants in this study for several reasons. Students in third-grade are between the 
ages of nine and ten. At this age, students are in Piaget's concrete operational stage, 
which is characterized by a child's ability to logically solve concrete or hands-on 
problems. Since this logical thinking is tied to physical reality, instruction that is 
comprised of problem solving, experimentation, concrete learning activities, and 
active exploration and interaction with adults, children, and materials is 
recommended. Theoretically, school garden instruction can provide these types of 
learning experiences and would be most effective for children in the concrete 
operational stage. The other reason third grade students were chosen to participate in 
this study was because the science Sunshine State Standards for third-grade include 
the life science topics that deal specifically with plants. Third-grade teachers may use 
the garden to address these standards. 

After interest-information cards were received from 130 teachers, 
encompassing grade levels from Kindergarten to sixth grade, the researcher contacted 
all third grade teachers who indicated a willingness to participate in the study to 
solicit their and their students' participation. Twenty-six third grade teachers from 
the Florida School Garden Competition agreed to participate in this study. These 
schools were located throughout the state of Florida. 



88 

The remaining three teachers participating in the study were drawn from a 
group of schools participating in the Project SOAR school garden program. Project 
SOAR is an agricultural outreach program started by professors at the University of 
Florida's Everglades Research and Education Center with elementary schools in Palm 
Beach County Florida. The SOAR program works with participating schools to build 
school gardens or miniature plant nurseries and to supply necessary tools and 
equipment required to run the garden or nursery. The program also assigns a 
"garden-knowledgeable" person to each school to assist in the development, 
maintenance, and management of the school garden (Nagata & Raid, 1997, p. 403). 
A list of 23 participating schools was obtained from the professors at the Everglades 
Research Center and calls were made to schools to solicit participation in this study. 
Only three of the twenty-three schools participating in Project SOAR had third grade 
students participating in the program. The teachers of these three third grade classes 
agreed to participate in this research project. The final participant group for this 
study consisted of 29 teachers and 466 students (Table 3-1). Most of these schools 
were located in residential areas (85.7%). The remaining schools were located in 
rural areas (14.3%). No school reported being located in commercial sectors. 

Measuring the Dependent Variables 

A student survey was constructed to measure the dependent variables of youth 
developmental assets: responsibility, achievement motivation, school engagement, 
and interpersonal competence; students' attitudes toward science; and students' 
attitudes toward the environment. Established scales were used to measure each of 
these variables. * '\ 



89 



Table 3-1. Number of classes, teachers, and students participating in the study. 



School 


Classes Teachers Students 


Elementary School 1 


1 


1 2 


Elementary School 2 


1 


1 3 


Elementary School 3 


1 


I 21 


Elementary School 4 


1 


1 10 


Elementary School 5 


1 


I 12 


Elementary School 6 


1 


1 18 


Elementary School 7 


1 


I 16 


Elementary School 8 


1 


I 19 


Elementary School 9 


1 


I 49 


Elementary School 10 


1 


I 16 


Elementary School 1 1 


3 : 


? 46 


Elementary School 12 


2 : 


I 23 


Elementary School 13 


1 


I 15 


Elementary School 14 


2 


I 19 


Elementary School 15 


2 : 


I 37 


Elementary School 16 


1 ] 


[ 16 


Elementary School 17 


1 - ] 


1 23 


Elementary School 1 8 


3 : 


5 52 


Elementary School 1 9 


1 ] 


9 


Elementary School 20 


1 1 


8 


Elementary School 21 


1 1 


26 


Elementary School 22 


1 1 


26 



Total 



28 



29 



466 



To assess the youth developmental assets of responsibility, school 
engagement, achievement motivation, and interpersonal competence, items from the 
Search Institute's Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors measure (Scales & 
Leffert, 1997) were used. This measure is a 1 56-item self-report survey for 6* 
through 12 grade students. Twelve items pertaining to the assets vmder investigation 
were selected from this measure and altered slightly so that they would be 
understandable to third grade students. The Profiles of Student Life survey only 
contained two statements to measure responsibility, therefore two additional 



90 



statements were developed. These additional statements were developed using 
information gathered from the literature and interviews with teachers. 

To assess students' attitudes toward science, the Attitudes, Preferences, and 
Understandings (1988) scale was used. This scale was developed by researchers at 
the University of Iowa by taking questions from the National Assessment of 
Educational Progress batteries. Researchers have used this instrument with several 
thousand students from grade three to young adult. This assessment tool was 
developed to measure students' attitudes toward their science teachers, science 
classes, usefulness of science study, and perceptions of being a scientist (Yager & 
McCormack, 1988). Ten questions from three of the four domains, those measuring 
attitudes toward science teachers, science classes, and usefulness of science study 
were used. Since this study was concerned with the benefits of school gardens to 
students, five questions related to school gardens were developed. These garden 
questions were patterned after the Attitudes, Preferences, and Understandings items. 

To measure the final variable of interest, attitudes toward the environment, 
two measurement tools were used. Items to measure students' environmental 
attitudes were taken from the Children 's Environmental Response Inventory (CERI) 
developed by Bunting and Cousins (1985) and an environmental attitude scale 
developed by Jaus (1 984). These two measures were used to obtain attitudes on a 
wide range of environmental attitudes. Seven items were taken from the CERI and 
Jaus' scale to make up the environmental attitude measure for this study. 

Items from each of the measurement tools were compiled into a single survey 
for students. The answer scales for several of the questions from each measurement 



91 

tool were changed so that all the questions on the student survey would have the same 
answer scale for ease of reading and comprehension. The wording for several of the 
questions was also altered slightly to accommodate for the change in the answer scale 
and to match the reading level of third grade students. The answer scale used for 
each question on the student survey was a Likert-type scale with five responses: 
always, most of the time, half the time, sometimes, and never. In addition to these 
responses, a graphical representation of each word/phrase was developed. One study 
conducted by Cook, Church, Ajanaku, Shadish, Kim, and Cohen (1996) found that 
graphical representations of volume helped second grade students understand the 
answer scale more easily. For the answer scale on the student survey, a graphical 
representation of a daisy with eight petals was developed and used. The number of 
petals on the daisy corresponded to the answers: always (eight petals), most of the 
time (six petals), half the time (four petals), sometimes (two petals), and never (no 
petals, just the center of the daisy) (Appendix A). Pilot testing of the survey indicated 
that the flower scale helped students understand the answer and students did not 
answer the question based on their preference for the flower with all the petals versus 
the flower with fewer or no petals. These responses were then coded such that 5 = 
always, 4 = most of the time, 3 = half the time, 2 = sometimes, and 1 = never. 

In addition to questions related to the variables of interest, demographic 
questions were included on the student survey. These demographic questions 
included student's name, teacher's name, birthday, gender, and ethnicity. The 
teacher's name was included so that the student surveys could be matched with their 
teacher's survey for subsequent analyses. Students were asked to give the month, 



92 

day, and year of their birthday. This information allowed for a more accurate 
measure of age in terms of month and year. Students were also asked to mark their 
ethnicity in terms of Black or African American, Asian, Hispanic, White, or Indian or 
Native American. The terms "Black" and "Indian" were used along with their more 
politically correct terms, as pilot testing of the survey indicated that some students did 
not understand the politically correct terms. 

After data collection, each scale measuring the dependent variables was factor 
analyzed using principle components extraction to assess the makeup and reliability 
of the scales. Factor analysis of the twelve items from the Profiles of Student Life 
scale, measuring youth developmental assets, produced four subscales, of which only 
the scale measuring responsibility had an index reliability that could be used (Table 
B-1, Appendix B). The other items measuring school engagement, achievement 
motivation, and interpersonal competence did not measure what they were reported to 
measure and were, therefore, not used for subsequent analyses in this study. Further 
analysis of the items loading on the responsibility factor showed that these factors 
were correlated and could be used as one scale (Table B-2, Appendix B). The 
responses to each statement in the responsibility scale were summed and the mean 
taken to represent the degree of responsibility the students indicated. This mean score 
was used as the dependent variable of responsibility. Reliability for the responsibility 
scale was established via Chronbach's alpha. The responsibility scale had an alpha of 
.53, a mean of 4.46, and a standard deviation of .55. The mean for each scale was 
taken to retain the original metric of the responses and for ease of interpretation. 



93 

Items from the Attitudes, Preferences, and Understandings scale, measuring 
students' attitudes toward science, were factor analyzed and produced two subscales: 
attitudes toward science and the perceived usefulness of science study (Table B-3, 
Appendix B). Items measuring students' attitudes toward science were analyzed and 
found to be correlated (Table B-4, Appendix B) as were the items measuring 
students' attitudes toward the usefulness of science study (Table B-5, Appendix B). 
The responses to each statement in the attitudes and usefulness scales were summed 
and the mean taken to represent students' attitudes toward science and perceived 
usefulness of science study. These mean scores were used as the dependent variables 
of science attitude and science usefulness. The science attitude scale had an alpha of 
.90, a mean of 3.96, and a standard deviation of 1 .04. The usefulness of science study 
scale had an alpha of .65, a mean of 3.76, and a standard deviation of .87. 

Items measuring students' attitudes toward the garden were patterned after the 
items in the Attitudes, Preferences, and Understandings scale. The responses to each 
statement in the garden scale were summed and the mean taken to represent students' 
garden attitudes. The garden items were factor analyzed and all items loaded on one 
factor (Table B-6, Appendix B). Correlational analysis showed these items to be 
correlated (Table B-7, Appendix B). The attitudes toward the garden scale had an 
alpha of .92, a mean of 4. 1 9, and a standard deviation of 1 .01 . 

Items measuring students' attitudes toward the environment, when factor 
analyzed, produced multiple domains. However, four items dealing with caring for 
the environment did emerge as a reliable index (Table B-8, Appendix B). These 
items were found to be correlated (Table B-9, Appendix B) and were combined to 



94 

serve as the environmental attitude scale. The three items that did not load on this 
caring factor were factors that were more abstract and thought to be not fully 
understood by the third grade students and were therefore not included in the scale. 
The responses to each statement measuring students' attitudes toward the 
environment were summed and the mean taken to represent students' attitudes toward 
the environment. The attitudes toward the environment scale had an alpha of .59, a 
mean of 4.81, and a standard deviation of .41. Univariate statistics for each scale 
used in the student survey are reported in Table 3-2. 

Measuring the Independent Variables 

In this study, the independent variables were conceptualized into three 
domains: student individual factors, school garden type, and school garden intensity. 
The student individual factors were the demographic factors of age, gender, and 
ethnicity. School garden type and intensity were determined from information 
gathered from a teacher survey. Based on information gained from teachers about 
their school garden type and intensity, a typology was developed and served as an 
independent variable. 

Individual Factors 

Individual factors were measured from demographic variables. These 
variables included age, gender, and ethnicity. The mean age of students in this study 
was 9.01 and all students were enrolled in the third grade. Of the participants, 47.2% 
were male and 52.8% were female. The majority of the students were white (73.6%), 
with a small percentage of African American (15.6%), Native American (3.7%), 



95 

Hispanic (6.0%), and Asian (1 .1%). For subsequent analyses, the ethnicity of the 
group was divided into white (73.6%) and other (26.4%). 

Typology of School Gardens 

A typology of school gardens based on garden form and intensity was created 
from information gained from the teacher survey. Development of this survey was 
conducted through researcher observations of school garden programs, interviews 
with teachers using school gardens, and a Delphi Technique interview with an expert 
panel of teachers using school gardens. The survey contained 19 questions designed 
to elicit information from teachers about their school gardens. This information was 
used to develop a typology of school garden programs. 

A typology is a type of model. A model, in terms of research, is a way to 
summarize data for a given set of observations (Lunneborg, 1994). Bailey (1994) 
defines a typology to be a type of classification that is multidimensional and 
conceptual in nature. It is a classification method that orders data to create ideal 
types. Classification is the ordering of entities into groups or classes based on their 
similarities. Classification seeks to minimize within-group variance while 
maximizing between-group variance. This allows each group to be as homogeneous 
as possible, while the difference between groups remains as heterogeneous as 
possible. 



























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98 



Typologies represent type concepts rather than empirical cases, whereas 
taxonomies are concerned with empirical cases. Typologies, however, lead to an 
increased understanding of the empirical world (Luloff, 1987). Typologies are often 
arrived at in the course of an attempt to construct an index or scale (Babbie, 1992). 
The cells of a typological table become types or type concepts and typologies are 
characterized by labels or names in their cells and are usually composed of 
monothetic classes. Monothetic classes are classes containing cases that are all 
identical on all variables or dimensions being measured (Bailey, 1994). Because 
typologies involve more than one dimension, the dimensions are usually correlated or 
related. The dimensions are also typically composed of categorical data, such as 
nominal or ordinal variables. 

Typologies, being a form of classification, are very useful in the social 
sciences. Classifications provide the basis for conceptualization, language, 
mathematics, statistics and much more, including social science research (Bailey, 
1994). Bailey identifies ten advantages for classification in the social sciences. The 
first advantage is that classification is a foremost tool for description. A good 
classification gives the researcher an opportunity to provide an exhaustive and 
sometimes definitive array of types. This descriptive tool also allows for a quick 
assessment of how a particular type scores on a particular dimension as well as which 
types are contiguous to a particular type. The second advantage of a typological 
classification is the reduction of complexity. Typologies allow the researcher to 
simplify reality in a way that can be analyzed. It takes a seemingly large amount of 
data and condenses it into salient types. Identification of similarifies and differences 



99 

among types are the third and fourth advantages identified. These advantages allow 
the researcher to either group similar cases or separate dissimilar cases for subsequent 
analysis. Another reason typologies are important to the social scientist is because 
they present an exhaustive list of dimensions. A good typology will display an 
exhaustive set of types as well as the exhaustive set of dimensions on which the types 
are based. This ensures that the typology is very comprehensive and is able to show 
the relationship among types and dimensions. Classification allows the researcher to 
quickly and easily compare types. Typologies also allow for easy appraisal of 
variation in types. The seventh identified advantage of classification is that types are 
easily inventoried and located. This also allows for identification of what types are 
available for analysis. Typological classifications are useful in the social sciences 
because they provide a format for studying relationships and even the specification of 
hypotheses concerning such relationships. A final advantage of a typology is the 
ability to use types for measurement. A researcher can select a type as the criterion 
and compare how other types relate to this criterion. The type selected may be 
chosen as the ideal type, an extreme or heightened representation of all dimensions in 
the typology, and thus allow for analysis as to how other types relate to the ideal type. 

The use of school gardens by teachers is a very diverse practice. Many 
different types, styles, and sizes of gardens exist. Additionally, due to climatic 
conditions, gardens differ with respect to what and when plants can be grown in a 
garden. Teachers also use the garden for many differing tasks. Recent research has 
found that teachers are using school gardens for teaching, social achievement, 
environmental stewardship, experiential learning, and as a tool to teach a multitude of 



. . ' ' 100 

subjects (DeMarco, 1999; Skelly & Bradley, 2000). Additionally, in the initial stages 
of this research study, interviews with teachers and correspondence with a panel of 
experts indicated that teachers in Florida were using gardens to varying degrees and 
for varying purposes. Regardless of the type, style, size, location, and use of school 
gardens, it is important to examine how the use of a school garden may affect the 
students who use school gardens. 

It would be nearly impossible to have a set of teachers create identical gardens 
and use them in identical ways. In reality, teachers across the country are creating 
gardens and using them in diverse fashions (DeMarco, 1999; Skelly & Bradley, 
2000). In order to assess the impact school gardens may be having on students, it is 
necessary to set up a means of classifying school gardens. For the purposes of this 
study, school gardens are referred to as school garden programs. A school garden 
program encompasses not only the garden itself, but also how teachers and students 
are using the garden both in and outside the classroom. Due to the diversity of school 
garden programs throughout schools in Florida, it was determined that a typology of 
school garden programs would be created on the basis of intensity (high, medium, 
and low) and form (vegetable, flower, and combination vegetable/flower). 

Bailey (1994) defines the one secret to successful classification as being the 
ability to ascertain the key or fiandamental characteristics on which the classification 
is to be based. For this research project, the first step in determining these 
characteristics of school garden program intensity was to find out first hand the types 
of gardens in schools and how these gardens were being used by teachers. In 
February 1999, two observations of school garden programs were carried out. For 



101 

these observations, the researcher went to an elementary school in Florida and 
observed two teachers each using a different garden. During the observations, the 
researcher made notes on the location of the garden, type of garden and plants being 
grown and planted, size of the garden, types of activities in which students 
participated while in the garden, type of instruction that occurred in the garden, and 
questions being asked by teachers and students in the garden. 

Following the observations, interviews with 10 Florida elementary school 
teachers were conducted. Teachers who participated in the 1998-1999 Florida School 
Garden Competition were randomly selected and asked to participate in an interview 
with the researcher. These teachers were asked numerous questions concerning their 
school garden programs. The researcher asked questions relating to how long they 
had been teaching, if they gardened at home, reasons for using a school garden, type 
of garden at the school, how the garden was used by students, how the garden was 
used by the teacher both in and out of the classroom, level of involvement of students, 
amount of time spent in the garden, and experiences related to the garden. The 
answers to these questions helped to formulate the basic questions that would start 
another interview process, known as the Delphi Technique. 

The Delphi Technique is a process in which an expert panel is identified and 
then asked a series of questions, each set of questions building on the answers of the 
previous question set (Dalkey, 1969). For this study, an expert panel of eight teachers 
was identified and asked to participate in the Delphi Technique interview process. 
Once the expert panel was assembled, a series of question sets were sent out via email 
or regular postal mail. The first question set was sent in April 1999. The panel was 



y 102 

given two weeks to return their answers to the researcher. Responses from each 
question set were summarized and were used to generate the next question set. This 
process took place four times over a three-month period ending in June 1999. 
Information gained from the observations, interviews, and the Delphi 
interviews suggested a number of possible factors for measuring the intensity of a 
school garden program (Table 3-3). These factors were organized into questions for 
the teacher survey. 

In addition to factors of intensity, the typology also consisted of the dimension 
of form of the garden. For the purposes of this study, form of the garden was limited 
to vegetable garden, flower garden, or a combination of vegetable and flower garden. 
Vegetable gardens were used by 14.3% of the teachers participating in this study. 
Flower gardens were being used by 39.3% of the teachers and 46.4% of the teachers 
were using combination vegetable/flower gardens. Garden forms can be extremely 
diverse, therefore these categories were set to reduce this reality into a more 
manageable form. 

The typology used in this study was constructed using the dimensions of 
garden intensity (high, medium, low) based on number of garden-related activities 
students participated in prior to and while in the garden and garden form (vegetable, 
flower, combination) (Table 3-4). Figure 3-1 illustrates the distribution of number of 
activities students participated in prior to and while in the garden. Garden intensity 
and form were cross tabulated to form nine categories: (a) low-intensity vegetable 
garden, (b) low-intensity flower garden, (c) low-intensity combination garden, (d) 
medium-intensity vegetable garden, (e) medium-intensity flower garden, (f) medium- 



103 



intensity combination garden, (g) high-intensity vegetable garden, (h) high-intensity 
flower garden, and (i) high-intensity combination garden. These nine categories 
constituted the conceptuar'types" of school gardens'. 

Table 3-3. Possible factors to measure school garden intensity. 

Factor 

T Average number of hours per week the students spend in the garden. 

2. Number and type of garden-related activities students participate in prior to gardening. 

3. Number and type of garden-related activities students participate in while in the garden. 

4. Percentage of time the teacher uses the garden as an instructional tool in the classroom. 

5. Number and type of subject areas into which the school garden program has been 
incorporated. 

6. Number of years the school garden has been a part of the teacher's curriculum. 

7. Type of group configuration that is used m the garden (individual, small groups, large 
groups). 

8. Approximate size of the garden. 

9. Forms of volunteer help used when gardening with students. 

10. Sources of information used to assist in the incorporation of school gardening mto the 
curriculum. 

11. Types of educational material used in the classroom to support use of school gardening in the 
curriculum. 

12. How teacher and students utilize the end product of the garden. 

13. How students share the garden with others. 

14. Whether (and how) student teams/groups work on garden related assignments and activities. 

15. Number and type of science Sunshine State Standards that are addressed through the use of 
the school garden. 



The typology for this study was based solely on the number of garden related activities students 
participated in prior to and while in the garden. Analyses were run with this single factor and with 
additional factors and it was found that nothing more was gained with the added factors. Correlation 
analyses of this factor and the other factors showed the factors to be significantly correlated (Table F- 
1, Appendix F). Therefore to keep the typology simple and elegant the best factor, number of activities 
was used. The procedure for construction of the typology is discussed on pg. 12 1 . 



104 



Table 3-4. Typology of school garden programs. 



Intensity 





Vegetable garden 

Flower garden 

Combination garden 


Low (0-8) 


Medium (9-11) 


High (12-14) 


Garden 


a)LV 


d)MV 


g)HV 


Form 


b)LF 


e)MF 


h)HF 




c)LC 


f)MC 


i)HC 




Std. Dev = 2.34 
Mean = 10.2 
N = 433.00 
4.0 6.0 8.0 10.0 12.0 I4".0 

Number of Activities 

Figure 3-1. Distribution of number of activity scores. 



Procedure for Data Collection 



Pilot Test 



A pilot test of the student survey was conducted at Metcalfe Elementary and 
at Terrwilliger Elementary in Gainesville, Florida on April 1 and 2, 2000, 
respectively to test instrument usability and student comprehension. Third-grade 
students participating in the pilot test were part of after-school programs at each 
school. The researcher met with students after school and was allowed to work with 
the students in a room away fi-om the other after-school students. The researcher 



105 

who was unknown to the students, estabUshed a rapport with the students by 
explaining that she was a university student who needed their help with a survey she 
had designed for students their age. The researcher discussed with students the 
meaning of a research project and how it involved asking questions and finding out 
information. She explained to the students that she needed their help to find out if 
students their age understood the questions on the survey. 

According to LaGreca (1990), carefully worded instructions are a way to deal 
with students tending to give socially desirable answers. Before administering the 
survey, the researcher was sure to explain to the students that the survey was about 
them and their feelings and that there were no right or wrong answers. She was sure 
to emphasize that this was not a test, but rather a survey about them and the way they 
felt. She told the students that since the survey was about them, it was OK to have 
answers that were different from the other students taking the survey and that they 
were to choose the answer they most agreed with. 

The researcher led students through the demographic questions on the survey 
before moving on to the example question. Initially, it was plaimed to read the entire 
survey out loud to the students to facilitate reading comprehension. However, at the 
first school participating in the pilot test, students read ahead and answered at their 
own pace despite instructions to the contrary. Once it was apparent that many of the 
students were reading ahead and students were on different questions at different 
times, the researcher conceded and allowed students to finish on their own and asked 
students to raise their hand if they reached a question they did not understand. Notes 
were taken on the questions or words that students did not understand. Once all the 



106 

students were finished with the surveys, the researcher asked the students to point out 
any questions or words they found confusing or did not understand or know and noted 
these questions and words. The total survey took approximately 30 minutes to 
administer. 

Student Survey 

The Institutional Review Board at the University of Florida requires that when 
research involves students, consent from the student's parent must be obtained. 
Therefore, parental consent letters (Appendix C) were sent to the participating 
teachers two weeks prior to sending out the student surveys. Teachers were asked to 
send home the parental consent letters for parents to sign. Parents were provided with 
a copy of the consent letter for their records. Student surveys were sent to the 
participating schools the week of April 1, 2000. The third-grade teachers 
administered the student surveys as their schedules permitted. Teachers were asked 
to return the surveys by April 17, 2000. All teachers, with the exception of one, 
completed and returned their surveys during this two-week period. One teacher failed 
to receive the surveys when they were first sent, therefore a second set of surveys was 
sent the week of April 23, 2000. These surveys were returned by May 10, 2000. 

Included with the student surveys were instructions for the teacher on how to 
administer the survey (Appendix D). In addition to instructions, a student assent 
script was included for the teacher to read to the students to gain their assent to take 
the survey. Teachers were also provided with a list of questions that gave students 
problems during the pilot test and examples on how to explain the question and/or 
answer (Appendix E). Upon completion of the teacher and student surveys, teachers 



107 

were asked to return the surveys to the researcher. In the event that not all of the 
teacher's students gained parental consent to take the student survey, it was 
recommended to teachers that they allow all their students to take the survey, but only 
return to the researcher those student surveys who had parental consent. Based on the 
number of students teachers reported having in their classes and the number of 
student surveys returned, a response rate of 54% was obtained. 

Teacher Survey 

Teacher surveys were sent to participating teachers along with the student 
surveys during the week of April 1 , 2000. Teachers were asked to return their 
completed surveys along with the student surveys by April 1 7, 2000. All teachers, 
with the exception of one returned the surveys by this specified date. The remaining 
teacher returned the surveys by May 10, 2000. Prepaid postage envelopes were 
provided so that the teacher would not incur any costs for participation. All the 
teachers asked to participate in the study returned the teacher surveys, this accounts 
for a 100% response rate among participants. 

Statistical Procedures 

Initially, descriptive statistics (frequency, mean, standard deviation, range) of 
participant characteristics and all measures were computed. Procedures were then 
taken to determine the intensity of a school garden program. To accomplish this task, 
several typologies were constructed to ascertain which typology best measured school 
garden intensity. Once constructed, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests 
were run to identify the best typology of school garden intensity. After a typology 



108 

was identified, correlation analysis was used to determine whether the typology 
chosen was correlated with the other possible typologies, thus ensuring that the 
typology chosen was effective in explaining school garden intensity and type. 
Results of correlation analyses are reported in Table F-1, Appendix F. 

Once the suitable typology was found, ANCOVA tests were run to determine 
if there were significant differences in regard to garden intensities and types, and the 
dependent variables of youth developmental assets - responsibility, students' attitudes 
toward science, students' attitudes toward the environment, and students' attitudes 
toward the garden. Analysis of covariance is a statistical procedure that employs the 
use of a preexisting variable that is correlated with the dependent variables, the 
covariate, to improve the precision of the analysis. ANCOVA removes the portion of 
the dependent-variable score variance that is associated with the covariate variance, 
thus allowing the difference due to the independent variable to be more clear (Ary, 
Jacobs, & Razavieh, 1996). The covariate used in the subsequent analyses was the 
number of years the school garden had been a part of the curriculum. It was 
hypothesized that the number of years the garden had been a part of the curriculum 
could affect the intensity of the garden experience as well as students' asset 
development and attitudes toward science, the environment, and the garden. All 
analyses were run using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences for 
Windows™ Release 9.0 (SPSS®, 1999). 



CHAPTER 4 
RESULTS AND ANALYSIS 



The results of the data analyses will be presented in this chapter. The five 
research questions and related hypotheses will be addressed. 

Research Question 1 

1 . 1 How and to what degree are teachers using school gardens? 

1 .2 What factors contribute to the intensity of a school garden program? 

1.3 Do school gardens vary in intensity and form? 

From observations, personal interviews, and a Delphi Technique interview 
process, several factors were thought to contribute to school garden intensity (Table 
3-4). The first factor examined was the number of hours-per-week students spent in 
the garden. Teachers were asked to "indicate the number of hours a week, on 
average, your students spend in the garden." This was an open-ended question. 
Almost half of the teachers (42.9%) stated that their students spent, on average, one 
hour a week in the garden. A quarter of the teachers (25%) said their students spent 
1.5 to 2 hours in the garden, while a smaller percentage (21.5%) of teachers said that 
their students spent 3 or more hours in the garden (Table 4-1). 

Another possible measure of the intensity of a school garden program was the 
percentage of time the garden was used as an instructional tool in the classroom. 
Teachers were asked to "indicate the percentage of time that you use the garden as an 



109 







110 


instructional tool in your classroom." This question was open-ended. One teacher 


used the garden 


as an 


instructional tool 100%) of the time, while another used it only 


.5% of the time 


A little over half of the teachers (53.7%) used the garden as an 


instructional tool 10% 


or less of the time (Table 4-2). 


Table 4-1. The number of hours a week, on average, students spend in the 


garden. 






Hours 




Valid 


per week 


n 


percent Mean SD Min Max 


.75 


1 


3.6 2.36 2.73 .75 15.00 


1.00 


12 


42.9 


1.50 


1 


3.6 - . 


1.75 


1 


3.6 


2.00 


5 


17.9 


2.50 


2 


7.1 • ■" 


3.00 


1 


3.6 


4.00 


3 


10.7 


5.00 


1 


3.6 " 


15.00 


1 


3.6 


N = 28 






Table 4-2. The 


percent of time the garden is used as an instructional tool in the 


classroom. 




Percent of 




Valid 


time 

0.5 


n 

1 


percent Mean SD Min Max 


3.6 19.19 21.13 0.5 lOO.O" 


5.0 


7 


25.0 


7.0 


1 


3.6 


8.0 


1 


3.6 


10.0 


5 


17.9 • 


15.0 


2 


7.1 


20.0 


3 


10.7 


30.0 


2 


7.1 


33.0 


I 


3.6 


35.0 


1 


3.6 


50.0 


2 


7.1 


100.0 

N = 28 


1 


3.6 


-V ■■■''^■v 



Ill 

Related to the percent of time the garden was used as an instructional tool in 
the classroom, was the number and type of subject areas into which teachers 
incorporated the garden. Teachers were asked to "mark the subject area(s) into which 
you have incorporated school gardening." Ten subjects were listed and teachers 
could mark all that applied (Table 4-3). All of the teachers participating in this study 
used the garden to teach science. All but two of the teachers used the garden to teach 
math. Environmental education was used by about two-thirds (67.9%) of the 
teachers, while language arts and health and nutrition were subjects 64.3% of the 
teachers addressed with the aid of the garden. In almost all cases, teachers were using 
the garden to teach multiple subjects. 



Table 4-3. Subject areas into which teachers have incorporated school 
gardening. 



Valid 
Subject area* n percent Mean SD Min Max 



Science 28 100.0 19.19 21.13 0.5 100.0 

Math 26 92.9 



Environmental 
education 



19 67.9 



Language arts 18 64.3 

Health/nutrition 18 64.3 

Ethics 

(responsibility 16 57.1 

and nuturing) 

Social studies 9 32.1 

History 6 21.4 

Music 6 21.4 

Physical 
education 



14.3 



*Note: teachers could mark more than one subject area. 
N = 28 



112 

The number of years the school garden program had been a part of the 
teachers' curriculum was thought to be another indicator of the intensity of the 
garden. An open-ended question, "please indicate the number of years that school 
gardening has been part of your program curriculum" was asked. This was an open- 
ended question. Close to half (48. 1 %) of the gardens being used by participants had 
been a part of the curriculum for 1 to 3 years. Several gardens had been a part of the 
curriculum for 4 to 5 years (21.4%). Only eight of the gardens being used by teachers 
had been a part of the curriculum for 7 or more years (Table 4-4). 



Table 4-4. The number of years that school gardening had been a part of 

teachers' curriculum . 

Number of Valid 

years n percent Mean SD Min Max 

i 4 lT3 4774 "146 1 15" 

2 4 14.3 

3 5 17.9 

4 3 10.7 

5 3 10.7 

7 1 3.6 

8 4 14.3 
10 2 7.1 
15 1 3.6 

N^27 : ^ 



Group configuration in the garden was also examined as a possible indicator 
of intensity. Teachers were asked "what type of garden set-up(s) are used at your 
school?" Five choices were given: a class garden, small group gardens (2 to 5 
students), large group gardens (6 to 10 students), individual student gardens, or topic 
gardens for all classes. Class gardens were used by 50% of the teachers. Other 
arrangements used by teachers were large group gardens (14.3%), small group 



113 

gardens (7.1%), and topic gardens for all students (7.1%). Several teachers indicated 
that they used more that one type of group configuration in the garden. 

The size of a school garden was another component thought to contribute to 
the intensity of a garden program. Teachers were asked "what is the approximate size 
of your garden in square feet." The question was open-ended. Garden size varied 
greatly. One-third (33.5%) of the 21 teachers that answered the question had small 
(5ft - 45ft ) gardens, one-third had medium-sized gardens (50ft^- 150ft^), and the 
final third of the teachers had large gardens (196ft^- 1800 ft^). The mean garden size 
was 266ft^ with a standard deviation of 451ft^. Gardens ranged in size from 5ft^ to 
ISOOftl 

Teachers were also asked to "indicate which form(s) of volunteer help you 
have used when gardening with students at your school" to determine if this 
contributed to the intensity of a garden program. Nine choices were given and 
teachers were asked to check all forms they used (Table 4-5). The majority (82.1%) 
of teachers used parental volunteers to help with their school gardens. The next most 
common forms of volunteer help included agriculture education members (35.7%) 
and older students at their school (35.7%). 

The sources of information teachers used to assist in the incorporation of the 
garden into their curriculum were also examined. A question asking teachers to 
"indicate the source(s) of information used to assist in the incorporation of school 
gardening into your school's curriculum" was posed. Nine answer choices were 
given and teachers could check all sources they used (Table 4-6). Almost all of the 
teachers relied on their personal knowledge (89.3%) or friends/volunteers (75.0%) for 



114 



information. Other sources of information came from the County Extension service 
(39.3%) and education journals/publications (39.3%). 



Table 4-5. Forms of volunteer help teachers use when gardening with students. 

Valid 



Form of help* n Percent Mean SD Min Max 



Parents 


23 


82.1 


Agriculture education 
members 


10 


35.7 


Older students 


10 


35.7 


Master Gardeners 


8 


28.6 


Senior citizens 


6 


21.4 


High school students 


5 


17.9 


Garden club members 


3 


10.7 


4-H members 


3 


10.7 


University students 


2 


7.1 



2.5 1.9 



*Note: teachers could mark more than one form of volunteer help. 

N-28 



In addition to the sources of information teachers used, were the types of 
educational materials teachers used to incorporate the garden into their curriculum. 
"Please indicate the types of educational material(s) used in the classroom to support 
the use of school gardening in the curriculum" was asked of the teachers. Eleven 
types of materials were listed and teachers could marked all that applied (Table 4-7). 
The most common type of educational material teachers used was library books 
(89.3%). Gardening magazines and catalogs were the next most common type of 
educational material used (64.3%). Personal books, textbooks, trade books, the 



115 

internet, and experiments were all used by approximately half (53.6%) of the teachers 
to support the use of the garden in their curriculum. 



Table 4-6. Sources of information teachers use to assist in the incorporation of 
school gardening into their curriculum. 

Valid 
Source* n Percent Mean SD Min Max 

Personal knowledge 25 89.3 2.7 1.6 6 

Friends/volunteers 21 75.0 



Educational journals/ 

publications 
County extension 

service 
Teacher in-service 

training 
National Gardening 

Assoc. Newsletter 



11 39.3 

11 39.3 

10 35.7 

10 35.7 



4-H education materials 8 28.6 



*Note: teachers could mark more than one source of information. 
N = 28 



How teachers and students used the end product of the garden was examined 
as a possible intensity factor. Teachers were asked to "mark how you and your 
students utilize the end product of your garden." Six choices were available and 
teachers could mark all that applied (Table 4-8). Almost all teachers and their 
students (89.3%) observed the end product of the garden. More than half of teachers 
and students shared the end product of their garden. Eating the end product of their 
garden was also utilized by about half of the teachers and students. 



116 



Table 4-7. Types of educational materials teachers use to support the use of 
school gardening in their curriculum. 



Source* 



Valid 
Percent Mean 



SD 



Min Max 



Library books 


25 


89.3 


Gardening magazines 
and catalogs 


18 


64.3 


Internet 


17 


60.7 


Text books 


15 


53.6 


Trade books 


15 


53.6 


Personal books 


15 


53.6 


Experiments 


15 


53.6 


Videos 


14 


50.0 


Newspapers 


13 


46.4 


Computer software 


9 


32.1 


Filmstrips 


3 


10.7 



5.7 



3.2 







11 



*Note: teachers could mark more than one type of material. 

N = 28 



Table 4-8. How teachers and students utilized the end product of t heir garden. 

Valid ' 



Activity'* 



Percent Mean 



Observe 


25 


89.3 3.4 


Share 


18 


64.3 


Eat 


15 


53.6 


Record 


-14 


50.0 


Donate 


12 


42.9 


Display 


11 


39.3 


*Note: teachers could mark 


more than 


one activity. 


N = 28 







SD 



1.6 



Min Max 

6 



y . 117 

An additional factor examined as a potential indicator of intensity was how 
students shared their garden with others. Teachers were asked to "please mark how 
your students share the garden with others." Three choices: share work/process, share 
knowledge, and share products were listed and teachers could mark all that applied. 
The majority of teachers (78.6%) indicated that their students shared their work and 
the process with others. Many teachers (71.4%) also marked that their students 
shared their knowledge of the garden with others, while a little over half of the 
teachers (57. 1 %) marked that their students shared the garden products with others. 
Of the three ways the garden could be shared, about half the teachers (46.4%) 
reported that their students shared the garden two ways. 

Teachers were also asked "do you have student teams/groups that work on 
garden-related assignments/activities?" Teachers could answer "yes" or "no." If 
teachers answered "yes," they were asked to describe the team/group 
assignments/activities. A majority of the teachers (67.9%) indicated that students 
were put in teams or groups, however, very few described the types of 
assignments/activities on which the groups/teams worked. 

Since students' science attitudes were examined in this study, another element 
examined for its role in contributing to the intensity of the garden program was the 
number and type of science Sunshine State Standards (educational standards set by 
the Florida Department of Education) that were addressed through the use of the 
school garden. The number of standards addressed through the use of the garden 
ranged from 7 to 46 out of 46 possible standards. One quarter of the teachers were 
using the garden to address 7 to 20 standards. A little over a third of the teachers 



118 

were using the garden to address 21-26 standards and almost half (42.9%) of the 
teachers were addressing 27 to 46 standards with the garden. The mean number of 
standards addressed with the garden was 27 with a standard deviation of 10. The 
most common standards addressed through the use of the garden were those related to 
the processes that shape the earth, the nature of science, processes of life, and how 
living things interact with their environment. Table 4-9 lists the standards most 
commonly addressed through the use of the garden. 

The final factor examined as a way to explain the intensity of a school garden 
was the number and type of garden-related activities students participated in prior to 
and while in the garden. Teachers were given a list of fourteen garden-related 
activities and asked to "mark all the activities that your students participate in prior to 
gardening and while in the garden." Teachers revealed that the most common 
activity students participated in prior to gardening was preparing the garden (92.9%). 
This was followed by planning the garden (75.0%) and choosing plants (67.9%). The 
activities students participated in the most, while in the garden, were observing, 
planting, weeding, and watering (Table 4-10). Since teachers reported that students 
often participated in more than one type of activity both prior to and while in the 
garden, a sum of the number of activities students participated in was taken. Table 4- 
1 1 reports the number of activities students participated in prior to and while in the 
garden. Almost one-third (28.6%) of the teachers indicated that their students 
participated in 3 to 8 activities. A little over a third (39.2%) of the teachers marked 
that their students participated in 9 to 1 1 activities, while 32.1% of the teachers 
revealed that their students participated in 12 to 14 activities. 



119 



Table 4-9. Most common science sunshine state standards addressed through 
the use of the school garden. 



Sunshine State Standard* 



Nature of matter 

^ Uses a tool to observe and study minute details of objects. 
^ Determines the physical properties of matter using metric measurements 
that incorporate tools such as rulers, thermometers, balances. 

Energy 

^ Knows that some source of energy is needed for organisms to stay alive 

and grow. 
^ Know different forms of energy. 

Processes that shape the earth 

•^ Understands the stages of the water cycle. 

^ Knows that reusing, recycling, reducing the use of natural resources 

improve and protect the quality of life. 
'^ Knows that approximately 75% of the surface of the earth is covered by 

water. 
•/ Understands the processes of weathering and erosion. 



n 


% 


20 


71.4 


19 


67.9 


27 


96.4 


18 


64.3 


26 


92.9 


26 


92.9 


19 


67.9 


17 


60.7 


19 


67.9 


17 


60.7 


27 


96.4 


20 


71.4 



Earth and space 

^ Knows ways natural resources are important. 

'^ Knows that days and nights change in length throughout the year. 

Nature of science 

^ Makes predictions and inferences based on observations. 

^ Plans and investigates an experiment that defmes a problem, proposes a 

solution, identifies variables, collects and organizes data, interprets data 

in tables, charts and graphs, analyzes information, makes predictions, 

presents and supports findings 
^ Uses charts and graphs to understand patterns of change. 20 7 1 .4 

>^ Knows that it is important to keep accurate records and descriptions to 19 67.9 

provide information and clues on causes of discrepancies in repeated 

experiments. 
^ Uses various kinds of instruments to collect and analyze information. 18 64.3 

^ Knows that to work collaboratively, all team members should be free to 

reach, explain, and justify their own individual conclusions. 

Processes of life 

•^ Understands similarities and differences among plants. 
^ Understands the various ways that animals depend on plants for survival. 
^ Understands that although plants and animals are different, they also 
share common characteristics. 

How living things interact with their environment 

•/ Understands that energy is transferred to living organisms through the 24 85.7 

food they eat. 

'^ Understands that plants and animals share and compete for limited 23 82.1 

resources such as oxygen, water, food, and space. 
^ Knows how organisms with similar needs in a climatic region compete 20 71.4 

with one another for resources such as food, water, oxygen, or space to 
survive in an environment. 
^ Understands that scientific information can be presented in se veral ways. 19 67.9 

*Note: teachers could mark more than one standard ' 

N = 28 



26 


92.9 


24 


85.7 


23 


82.1 



120 



Table 4-10. Garden-related activities students participated in prior to and while 
in the garden. 



Activity* 


n 


Valid 
percent 


Prior to gardening 






Preparing 


26 


92.9 


Planning 


21 


75.0 


Choosing plants 


19 


67.9 


Designing 


9 


32.1 


While gardening 






Observing 


28 


100.0 


Planting 


27 


96.4 


Weeding 


26 


92.9 


Watering 


25 


89.3 


Fertilizing 


18 


64.3 


Harvesting . . 


17 


. 60.7 


Experimenting 


16 


57.1 


Recording 


16 


57.1 


Sitting 


14 


50.0 


Playing 


7 


25.0 



"Note: teachers could mark more than one activity 
N=28 



Table 4-11. The number of garden-related activities students participated in 
prior to and while in the garden. 



Number of 
Activities* 


n 


Valid 
Percent 


Mean 


SD 


Min 


Max 


3 
6 


1 
1 


3.6 
3.6 


9.9 


2.6 


3 


14 


7 


2 


7.1 










8 ^ 


4 


14.3 










9 ! ' 


6 . 


21.4 










10 


3 


10.7 










11 


2 


' ■• 7.1 










12 


4 


14.3 










13 


2 


7.1 










14 


3 
i^ ^ — I, 


10.7 











N = 28 



121 

To determine which indicator best explained the intensity of school garden 
programs, a series of analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests were run with seven of the 
fifteen possible indicators of school garden intensity: (a)number of hours per week 
students spend in the garden, (b) number of activities students participate in prior to 
and while in the garden, (c)percent of time the garden is used as an instructional tool 
in the classroom, (d) number of subject areas into which the garden has been 
incorporated, (e) number of years the garden has been a part of the curriculum, (f) 
number of sources of information and types of educational materials used to support 
the garden in the curriculum, and (g) number of science Sunshine State Standards 
addressed through the use of the garden (Table G-1, Appendix G). These seven 
indicators were chosen because they provided the best data set with which to 
construct possible typologies. 

Through a series of ANOVA analyses of these seven factors, the number of 
garden-related activities students participated in prior to and while in the garden best 
explained the variation in the dependent variables. Bronfenbrermer and Morris' 
(1998) ecological model of human development and the notion that activity must take 
place for development to occur and this activity must become increasingly complex 
supports this finding. Therefore, the number of garden-related activities was used to 
establish the intensity of school garden programs. The number of garden-related 
activities students participated in ranged from 3 to 14. Frequency statistics and 
percentiles for the number of activities students participated in were computed. The 
frequencies and percentiles showed that one-third of the students participated in to 8 
activities, one-third in 9 to 1 1 activities, and one-third in 12 to 14 activities (Table 4- 



122 



11). Following this reduction, intensity was therefore coded such that low intensity 
was equal to to 8 activities, medium intensity was equal to 9 to 1 1 activities, and 
high intensity was equal to 12 to 14 activities. 

The number of activities factor was combined with garden form (vegetable, 
flower, or combination vegetable/flower) to create a typology of school garden types. 
This combination resulted in a nine-category typology: (a) low-intensity flower 
garden, (b) low-intensity flower garden, (c) low-intensity combination garden, (d) 
medium-intensity vegetable garden, (e) medium-intensity flower garden, (f) medium- 
intensity combination garden, (g) high-intensity vegetable garden, (h) high-intensity 
flower garden, and (i) high-intensity combination garden signifying a variation 
among school gardens by form and intensity (Table 3-3). This typology served as the 
main independent variable for data analysis. 

The dependent variable scores of responsibility, science attitudes, 
environmemal attitudes, and garden attitudes were placed within this nine-cell matrix 
and a series of analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) tests were run to determine if there 
were significant differences among the cells of the typology. 

Table 4-12 shows the number and percentage of classes and students in each 
of the garden categories. Based on the typological categories it is evident that these 
school garden programs varied in intensity. An initial hypothesis of this study was 
that students in combination flower/vegetable gardens would have higher scores than 
students in vegetable and flower gardens, respectively. Additionally, it was also 
hypothesized that students in high intensity gardens would have higher scores than 



123 



medium and low intensity gardens, respectively. These hypotheses will be explored 
for each of the dependent variables. 



Table 4-12. Number and percentage of classes and students in the typology 
matrix. 



Garden 
Form 



Vegetable 



Flower 



Combination 



Classes 

Students 
Classes 

Students 
Classes 

Students 



Class N - 26 
Smdent N - 427 



Intensity 



Low 


Medium 


High 


1 (3.8%) 


2 (7.7%) 


1 (3.8%) 


22 (5.2%) 


23 (5.4%) 


28 (6.6%) 


2 (7.7%) 


5 (19.2%) 


3(11.5%) 


28 (6.6%) 


97 (22.7%) 


80(18.7%) 


4(15.4%) 


4(15.4%) 


4(15.4%) 


43(10%) 


43 (10%) 


63 (14.8%) 



Once the typology was established, the mean and standard deviation scores for 
each of the indicators thought to contribute to the intensity of school garden programs 
Wfere computed for each type of garden (Table 4-13). Students in the medium 
intensity flower garden spent the most hours per week in the garden. However, the 
high intensity combination garden had the highest mean scores for every other factor: 
number of activities students participated in, percent of time the garden was used as 
an instructional tool, number of subject areas into which the garden had been 
incorporated, number of years the garden had been a part of the curriculum, number 
of sources and types of information/educational material used to incorporate the 
garden into the curriculum, and the number of science Sunshine State Standards the 
garden addressed. Inspection of only the mean scores for each of these factors would 



124 



indicate that no real trend is evident. The typology, in this case, sorts the data as 
expected, but low N in some cells generates responses that are within range of an 
increasing trend. 

Research Question 2 

2.1 Do students using school gardens possess the youth developmental 
assets of achievement motivation, school engagement, responsibility, 
and interpersonal competence? 

2.2 Do students possess the youth developmental assets of achievement 
motivation, school engagement, responsibility, and interpersonal 
competence in varying degrees depending on school garden type? 

Hypothesis; There is a positive relationship between the number of youth 
developmental assets students possess and school garden type. 
Initially, it was planned to determine whether school garden intensity 
contributed to students' development of four youth developmental assets: 
achievement motivation, school engagement, responsibility, and interpersonal 
competence. However, after factor analysis of the scales measuring each of these 
assets was conducted, the data indicated that only the scale measuring responsibility 
could be used reliably. Therefore, the student responses to the responsibility items 
were summed and the mean taken to provide a responsibility score. This mean 
responsibility score served as the dependent variable. 



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Table 4-14 shows that students' responsibility scores were all high and very 
little variation was found. The analysis of responsibility scores is summarized in 
Table 4-15. The model including typology, gender, ethnicity, and number of years 
the garden had been a part of the curriculum only explained 1.5% of the variation in 
responsibility scores. The typology alone explained .34% of the variation in the 
scores and was not statistically significant. 

Table 4-14. Typology of responsibility scores.* 





Vegetable garden 

Flower garden 

Combination garden 




Intensity 






Low 


Medium 


High 


Garden 


4.42 


4.61 


4.29 


Form 


4.59 


4.45 


4.46 




4.42 


4.33 


4.57 



F= 1.448,;? = .175 

'Scores ranged from 1 - (low) to 5 - (high) 



Research Question 3 

3.1 In what ways do students' attitudes toward science differ depending on 
school garden type? 

3.2 In what ways do students' attitudes toward science differ based on a 
variety of person and social context variables? 

Hypothesis: There is a positive relationship between students' attitudes 
toward science and school garden type. 

Hypothesis: Students' attitudes toward science do not differ by gender in the 
third grade. 







127 


Table 4-15. Analysis 
Dependent variable 


of responsibility scores - main effects. 


Explained Cases 


Grand Mean 




Variance 




Responsibility 


.43% 427 


4.46 


Independent 


Explained Level of 


Deviation Deviation 


variable 


variance significance 


from mean from mean 
Unadjusted Adjusted 


Typology 


.34% .175 




ILV 




- .02 - .02 


2LF 


"'^■■i- ';■ 


+.12 +.12 


3LC 




- .02 - .01 


4MV 




+.19 +.21 


5MF 


■ - . . 


-.01 -.01 


6MC 




-.13 -.14 


7HV 




-.17 -.17 


8HF 




.00 - .02 


9HC 




+.11 +.10 


Gender 


>1% .168 




Female 




+.03 +.03 


Male 




- .04 - .04 


Ethnic 


>1% .260 




White 




+.01 +.02 


Other 




- .02 - .06 


Number of years 


>1% .836 




school gardening has 






been part of your 






curriculum 






The third research question posed in this study was whether students' attitudes 


toward science varied based on garden types. Factor analysis of the data indicated 


that there were two measures for this variable: attitudes toward science and attitudes 


toward the usefulness of science. The responses for each of these measures were 


summed and the means 


taken separately to serve as the 


dependent variables of 


attitudes toward science 


and attitudes toward the usefulness of science study. 

1 



128 

The ANCOVA analysis indicated that the differences among the science 
attitude scores when placed in the typology were statistically significant (F= 4.222, p 
= .000). Inspection of the typology showed that students with the highest science 
attitude scores were in medium-intensity vegetable and combination gardens and low- 
intensity flower gardens (Table 4-16). 



Table 4-16. Typology of attitudes toward science 



scores. 



Garden 
Form 



F= 4.222,;? = .000 







Intensity 






Low 


Medium 


High 


Vegetable garden 


3.20 


4.64 


3.50 


Flower garden 


4.24 


3.88 


4.12 


Combination garden 


3.83 


4.00 


3.91 



Scores ranged from 1 - (low) to 5 - (high) 



Table 4-17 summarizes the analysis for students' attitudes toward science 
scores. The model with the four independent factors explained 3.6% of the variation 
in students' scores. The typology of school garden intensity and form explained 3.5% 
of the variation in the scores and was statistically significant. The best predictor of 
students' attitudes toward science was therefore the type of garden in which students 
participate versus gender, ethnicity, and the number of years the garden had been a 
part of the curriculum. 

Since the model was statistically significant, further analyses were run to 
explore if there were any interactions present in the model. The interaction of 
typology and gender was found to be significant. Table 4-18 shows the scores for 
female and male students within the respective typology cells. In all but two cases, 
medium-intensity combination garden and high-intensity flower garden, males had 



129 

higher attitude scores toward science than females. Female and male students in 
medium intensity vegetable gardens had the highest science attitude scores. Table 4- 
19 shows that the interaction of typology and gender significantly explained some of 
the variation in the model. 



Table 4-17. Analysis of science attitude scores - main effects. 



Dependent variable 


Explained 


Cases 


Grand Mean 






Variance 










Attitudes toward 


3.6 % 


427 


3.94 




science 












Independent 


Explained 


Level of 


Deviation 


Deviation 


variable 


variance 


signiflcance 


from mean 


from 


mean 








Unadjusted 


Adjusted 


Typology 


3.5% 


.000* 








ILV 






-.74 




-.74 


2LF 






+.30 




+.28 


3LC 






-.11 




-.15 


4MV 






+.70 




+.62 


5 MP 






-.06 




-.06 


6MC 






+.06 




+ .07 


7HV 






-.44 




-.45 


8HF 






+.18 




+.20 


9 HC 


■> X 




-.03 




-.02 


Gender ■ 


>1% 


.787 








Female . fr 


.^ 




-.02 




-.01 


Male 






+.02 




+.01 


Ethnic 


>1% 


.401 








White 






-.05 




-.03 


Other 






-.13 




+.08 


Number of years 


>1% 


.924 








school gardening has 












been part of your 












curriculum 













130 



Table 4-18. T ypology of attitudes toward science scores based on gender/ 

Intensity 



Low 



Garden 
Form 



Vegetable garden 

Flower garden 

Combination garden 



F3.02 
M3.42 



F4.21 
M4.27 



F=2.108,/7 = .034 ' ' 

Scores ranged from 1 - (low) to 5 - (high) 



F3.78 
M3.87 



Medium 



F4.42 
M4.85 



F3.85 
M3.91 



F4.10 
M3.90 



High 



F3.08 
M4.15 



F4.37 
M3.82 



F3.86 
M3.95 



The second variable exploring science attitudes measured students' perceived 
usefulness of science study. The ANCOVA test indicated a significant difference 
among scores (F= 4.707,p = .000). Inspection of the typology showed that the 
highest scores were from students in the medium-intensity vegetable garden. For the 
flower and combination gardens, those students in low-intensity gardens had the 
highest scores (Table 4-20). 

Analysis of these scores is summarized in Table 4-21 . The full model 
containing the typology, gender, ethnicity, and number of years the garden had been a 
part of the curriculum accounted for 3.0% of the variation in the scores. The 
typology explained 2.6% of the variation and was statistically significant. The best 
predictor of students' attitudes toward the usefulness of science study was the 
typology of garden intensity and form. 









131 


Table 4-19. Analysis 
Dependent variable 


of science attitude scores - interactions. 






Explained Cases 


Grand Mean 




Variance 






Attitudes toward 


3.6 % 427 


3.94 


science 








Independent 


Explained Level of Deviation 


Deviation 


variable 


variance significance from 


mean 


from mean 




Unadj 


justed 


Adjusted 


Typology 


3.5% .000* 






ILV 




-.74 


-.74 


2LF 




+.30 


+.28 


3LC 




-.11 


-.15 


4MV 




+.70 


+.62 


5MF 




-.06 


-.06 


6MC 




+.06 


+ .07 


7HV 




-.44 


-.45 


8HF 




+.18 


+.20 


9HC 




-.03 


-.02 


Gender 


>1% .785 






Female 


• 


-.02 


-.01 


Male 




+.02 


+.01 


Ethnic 


>1% .397 






White 




-.05 


-.03 


Other 




-.13 


+.08 


Number of years 


>1% .923 






school gardening has 








been part of your 








curriculum 








Interaction 


1.7% .034** 






typology*gender 








Interaction 


. '' ' 

.9% .358 






typology* ethnic 
*/7<.001 **/7<.05 














Since the model 


was statistically significant, further analyses were run to test 


for interactions. As with attitudes toward science, an interaction of the typology and 




>*^ 







132 

gender was found to be statistically significant (Table 4-22). Both females (A/= 4.56) 
and males {M= 4.08) in medium-intensity vegetable gardens had the highest scores 
for the usefulness of science study. Females and males participating in flower 
gardens had different scores based on the intensity of the garden. Females scored 
highest if they were in a high-intensity flower garden, compared with males who 
scored highest if they were in a low- intensity flower garden. Combination gardens 
produced the same scoring pattern with females and males. 



Table 4-20. Typology of attitudes toward the usefulness of science study 

1 
scores. 

Intensity 





Vegetable garden 

Flower garden 

Combination garden 


Low 


Medium 


High 


Garden 


3.39 


4.31 


3.08 


Form 


3.96 


3.84 


3.82 




3.76 


3.58 


3.72 



F= 4.707,;? = . 000 
Scores ranged from 1 - (low) to 5 - (high) 



Research Question 4 

4.1 In what ways do students' attitudes toward the environment differ 
depending on school garden type? 

4.2 In what ways do students' attitudes toward the environment differ 
based on a variety of person and social context variables? 

Hypothesis: There is a positive relationship between students' attitudes 
toward the environment and school garden type. 

Hypothesis; Smdents' attitudes toward the environment do not differ by 
gender in the third grade. 







133 


Table 4-21. Analysis 


of usefulness of science study attitude scores - main effects. 


Dependent variable 


Explained Cases Grand Mean 




Variance 




Attitudes toward the 


3.0% 427 3.7f 


) 


usefulness of science 






study 


' 




Independent 


Explained Level of Deviation 


Deviation 


variable 


variance significance from mean from mean 




Unadjusted 


Adjusted 


Typology 


2.6% .000* 




ILV 


-.35 


-.43 


2LF 


+.22 


+.19 


3LC 


+.01 


-.08 


4MV 


+.57 


+.33 


5MF 


+.10 


+.11 


6MC 


-.16 


-.13 


7HV 


-.66 


-.70 


8HF 


+.07 


+.13 


9HC 


- .02 


+.07 


Gender 


.2% .121 




Female 


+.06 


+.06 


Male 


-.06 


-.06 


Ethnic 


.2% .085 




White 


- .06 


-.06 


Other 


+.17 


+.16 


Number of years 


.3% .055 




school gardening has 






been part of your 






curriculum 






V<.ooi 


.-■ 




The fourth goal of this research study was to examine the environmental 


attitudes of students and whether they differed in relation to school garden 


intensity 


and form. Initial analysis of the environmental attitude scores is presented 


in Table 4- 


24 and shows that all scores are high and no significant differences among 


scores 


exists. The full model explains only .3% of the variation in environmental attitude 


s 


' \-_^::-- 





134 



scores and was not statistically significant (Table 4-25). In fact, none of the 
independent factors significantly explained the variation in scores. 



Table 4-22. Typology of attitudes toward usefulness of science study scores^ 
based on gender. 



Intensity 



Low 



Medium 



High 



Garden Vegetable garden 


F3.33 
M3.46 


F4.56 
M4.08 


F2.78 
M3.55 


Form „, , 

Flower garden 


F3.92 
M4.02 


F3.83 
M3.85 


F4.01 
M3.60 


Combination garden 


F3.72 
M3.79 


F3.79 
M3.39 


F3.93 
M3.56 



F =2.039,/? = . 041 

'Scores ranged from 1 - (low) to 5 - (high) 



Research Question 5 

5.1 In what ways do students' attitudes toward school gardens differ 
depending on school garden type? 



The final variable of interest in this study was how students' attitudes toward 
the garden varied with respect to garden intensity and form. Table 4-26 depicts the 
typology of garden attitudes. The highest garden attitude scores were firom students 
in high-intensity flower and combination gardens and in the medium-intensity flower 
gardens. The difference among garden attitude scores was found to be statistically 
significant (F= 10.066,;? = .000). Analysis of the garden attitude scores showed that 
in addition to the typology, gender and ethnicity also significantly explained the 
variation in scores. The overall mean score for females was 4.29 and 4.02 for males. 













135 


The mean score for white students was 


4.13, while non 


-white students had a mean 


score of 4.27. 


'-, 










Table 4-23. Analysis of usefulness of 


science study attitude scores - 


interactions. 


Dependent variable 

Attitudes toward the 
usefulness of science 
study 


Explained 
Variance 

5.3% 


Cases 
427 


Grand Mean 

3.75 




Independent 
variable 

Typology 
1 LV 
2LF 
3LC 
4MV 
5MF 
6MC 
7HV 
8HF 
9HC 


Explained 
variance 

2.6% 


Level of 
significance 

.000* 


Deviation 

from mean 

Unadjusted 

-.35 
+.22 
+.01 
+.57 
+.10 
-.16 
-.66 
+.07 
-.02 


Deviation 

from mean 

Adjusted 

-.43 
+.19 
-.08 
+.33 
+.11 
-.13 
-.70 
+.13 
+.07 


Gender 
Female 
Male 


.2% 


.115 


+.06 
-.06 




+.06 
-.06 


Ethnic 
White 
Other 


2% 


.080 


-.06 
+.17 




-.06 
+.16 


Number of years 
school gardening has 
been part of your 
curriculum 


.3% 


.051 








Interaction 
typology*gender 


1.1% 


.041** 








Interaction 
typology* ethnic 


1.0% 


.065 








*;?<.001 **p<.05 










1 



Table 4-24. Typology of environmental attitudes. 



136 



Intensity 





Vegetable garden 

Flower garden 

Combination garden 


Low 


Medium 


High 


Garden 


4.83 


4.72 


4.68 


Form 


4.85 


4.85 


4.83 




4.88 


4.67 


4.77 



F= 1.518,;? = . 149 

'Scores ranged from 1 - (low) to 5 - (high) 



Table 4-25. Analysis of environmental attitude scores - main effects. 



Dependent variable 


Explained 
Variance 


Cases 


Grand Mean 




Attitudes toward the 


.3% 


427 


4.80 




environment 












Independent 
variable 


Explained 
variance 


Level of 
significance 


Deviation 
from mean 


Deviation 
from mean 


Typology 
ILV 


.2% 


.149 


Unadjusted 

+.02 


Adjusted 

-.02 


2LF 






+.05 




+.05 


3LC 






+.08 




+.08 


4MV 






-.08 




-.09 


5 MP 






+.05 




+.05 


6MC 






-.13 




-.14 


7HV 






-.12 




-.13 


8 HP 






+.03 




+.03 


9HC 






-.03 




-.02 


Gender 


>1% 


.242 








Female 






+.02 




+.02 


Male 






-.03 




-.02 


Ethnic 


>1% 


.144 








White 






+.02 




+.01 


Other 


■ - 




-.05 




-.04 


Number of years 
school gardening has 


>1% 


.057 








been part of your 
curriculum 








s 





Table 4-26. Typology of attitudes toward the garden.' 



Intensity 



Garden 
Form 



F= 10.066,;? = .000 
Scores ranged from 1 - (low) to 5 - (high) 



137 





Low 


Medium 


High 


Vegetable garden 


3.81 


4.48 


2.80 


Flower garden 


4.16 


4.24 


4.25 


Combination garden 


4.07 


4.28 


4.57 



Further analysis of garden attitude scores is reported in Table 4-27. The full 
model was successful in explaining 8.6% of the variation in garden attitude scores. 
The typology of garden types significantly explained 7.0% of the variation. 
Additionally, gender significantly explained 1.2% of the variation as did ethnicity, 
significantly explaining .4% of the variation. The typology variable, however was the 
best predictor of students' attitudes toward the garden versus the variables of gender, 
ethnicity, and number of years the garden had been a part of the curriculum. 

Since the model was statistically significant, a further analysis was run to 
determine if there were any significant interactions present. Table 4-28 shows that 
the interactions were not statistically significant. 

In summary, descriptive statistics showed that teachers were using school 
gardens in many different ways and to varying degrees. Typological construction 
using garden form and garden intensity produced a nine-cell matrix that served as the 
independent variable. ANCOVA analysis of the dependent variables of responsibility 
and student attitudes toward science, the usefulness of science study, the 
environment, and the garden were conducted to determine if there were significant 
differences among garden types. Significant differences were found among garden 
type and attitudes toward science, the usefulness of science, and garden attitudes. No 









138 


differences were found among garden type and students' 


sense of responsibility and 


their environmental attitudes. This was due to high scores for each gard( 


^ntype 


:and 


little variation among these high scores. 








Table 4-27. Analysis of garden attitude scores - main 


effects. 






Dependent variable Explained Cases 


Grand Mean 




Variance 








Attimdes toward the 8.6 % 427 


4.17 




garden 








Independent Explained Level of 


Deviation 


Deviation 


variable variance significance 


from mean 


from 


mean 




Unadjusted 


Adjusted 


Typology 7.0% .000* 








1 LV 


-.36 




-.39 


2LF 


-.02 




-.06 


3LC 


-.10 




-.17 


4 MV 


+.31 




+.10 


5MF 


+.07 




+.07 


6MC 


+.12 




-.17 


7HV ■ 


-1.37 




-1.43 


8HF 


+.08 




+.14 


9HC 


+.41 




+.49 


Gender 1.2% .000* 








Female 


+.13 




+.16 


Male 


-.15 




-.17 


Ethnic .4% .043** 








White 


-.04 




-.07 


Other 


+.10 




+.19 


Number of years > 1% .382 








school gardening has 


< 






been part of your 








curriculum 








*/7<.001 **p<.05 








-'7 n ". 

























139 


Table 4-28. Analysis o 
Dependent variable 


f garden attitude scores - interactions. 






Explained Cases 


Grand Mean 






Variance 








Attitudes toward the 


10.4% 427 


4.17 




garden 










Independent 


Explained Level of 


Deviation 


Deviation 


variable 


variance significance 


from mean 


from 


mean 






Unadjusted 


Adjusted 


Typology 


7.0% .000* 








ILV 




-.36 




-.39 


2LF 




-.02 




-.06 


3LC 




-.10 




-.17 


4MV 




+.31 




+.10 


5MF 




. +.07 




+.07 


6MC 




+.12 




-.17 


7HV 


'*■, . ..■ :. 


-1.37 




-1.43 


8HF 


' 'i V-| 


+.08 




+.14 


9HC 




+.41 




+.49 


Gender 


1.2% .000 








Female 




+.13 




+.16 


Male 


. 


-.15 




-.17 


Ethnic 


.4% .042 








White 




-.04 




-.07 


Other 




+.10 




+.19 


Number of years 


>1% .379 








school gardening has 










been part of your 










curriculum 










Interaction 


1.2% .085 








typoIogy*gender 










Interaction 


.7% .424 








typology*ethnic 










*p<.00\ **p<.05 








1 



CHAPTER 5 
DISCUSSION 

Study Summary 

Several youth development theories (cognitive, social cognitive, and 
ecological) provided the theoretical framework for a study of school gardens and their 
impact on youth. Ciurent uses of school gardens by teachers were investigated. A 
teacher questionnaire was developed to gain insight into how teachers used school 
gardens with their students and in their curriculum. The information gathered from 28 
third-grade teachers was used to develop a multi-level framework that incorporated 
school garden intensity based on the number of garden-related activities students 
participated in prior to and while in the garden and school garden form: flower, 
vegetable or combination flower/vegetable. 

Elements of positive youth development: youth developmental assets 
(achievement motivation, school engagement, responsibility, and interpersonal 
competence) and attitudes toward science, the environment, and the garden of 427 
third-grade students were examined. These elements were examined in relation to 
school garden intensity and form. Gender, ethnicity, and the number of years the 
garden had been a part of curriculum were other variables examined for their 
relationship to the positive youth development elements. 

To investigate the elements of positive youth development, a student survey 
was created by combining several indices. Search Institute's Profiles of Student Life: 



140 



141 

Attitudes and Behaviors (Scales & Leffert, 1997) for sixth- to twelfth-grade students 
was modified for use with elementary-age students to measure the youth 
developmental assets. The University oflowa's Attitudes, Preferences, and 
Understandings (1988) index was used to measure students' attitudes toward science. 
Based on questions found in the Attitudes, Preferences, and Understandings index, 
five questions related to students' attitudes toward the garden were created. Two 
environmental attitude indices, the Children 's Environmental Response Inventory 
(Bunting & Cousins, 1985) and Jaus' (1984) environmental attitude scale were 
combined to measure students' environmental attitudes. 

Factor analysis of these indices revealed that for the youth developmental 
assets, only the scale measuring responsibility could be used reliably. Additionally, 
factor analysis revealed two scales measuring science attitudes: attitudes toward 
science and attitudes toward the usefulness of science that could be used reliably. 
Factor analysis also showed that only the questions dealing with caring for the 
environment could be used reliably. All questions measuring students' attitudes 
toward the garden could be used reliably. 

Five research questions and hypotheses were investigated. Descriptive 
statistics were used to summarize how and to what degree teachers used school 
gardens. Examination of these statistics showed that teachers used school gardens 
differently and to varying degrees. This variation among gardens was simplified into 
a multi-level fi-amework or typology of high, medium, and low intensity based on the 
number of garden-related activities students participated in prior to and while in the 
garden and the form of school gardens (flower, vegetable, or combination 



142 

flower/vegetable). This typology consisted of nine types of gardens: (1) low-intensity 
flower garden, (2) low-intensity flower garden, (3) low-intensity combination garden, 
(4) medium-intensity vegetable garden, (5) medium-intensity flower garden, (6) 
medium-intensity combination garden, (7) high-intensity vegetable garden, (8) high- 
intensity flower garden, and (9) high-intensity combination garden. Analysis of 
covariance were used to determine if there were significant differences among the 
nine types of school gardens. Significant differences were found among school 
garden types and students' attitudes toward science, attitudes toward the usefulness of 
science study, and garden attitudes. While there were no significant differences 
among school garden types and students' responsibility and environmental attitude 
scores, scores for each of these elements were very high (indicating a sense of 
responsibility and a positive environmental attitude) with little variation. Although 
the typology of school gardens significantly explained the variation in students' 
science attitude and garden attitude scores, it did not account for a large percentage of 
the variance in attitude scores. 

Purposes of This Study 

An examination of how teachers are using school gardens was a primary focus 
of this study. Previous studies have examined school gardens and their impact on 
students, but all have done so within an experimental setting, that is studies have 
looked at the effects of a given school garden program and/or curriculum on students. 
To date, no research endeavor has explored how teachers use school gardens without 
the influence of a specified program and/or curriculum. Therefore, this study 
represented a begmning effort to describe how teachers use school gardens and what 



143 

affect these gardens have on the students participating in such garden programs. 
Specifically, this study was designed to accomplish the following goals: 

1 . Determine how teachers use school gardens with their students and within 
their curriculum and if variation exists in the uses of school gardens. 

2. Determine the factor(s) that contribute to the intensity of a school garden 
program. 

3. Develop a multi-level framework that incorporates both school garden 
intensity and school garden form (flower, vegetable, or combination 
flower/vegetable) to explore elements of positive youth development: 
youth developmental assets (achievement motivation, school engagement, 
responsibility, and interpersonal competence) and students' attitudes 
toward science, the environment, and the school garden. 

4. Adapt existing measures, or develop new measures, to enable the study of 
school gardens. 

5. Provide theoretical and empirical support that will assist with the design 
and use of school gardens for elementary-age children. 

This chapter discusses the results found as they related to these purposes. The 
specific research questions and hypotheses examined will be summarized. 
Implications for theory, research, and practice will also be considered. Limitations of 
the study will be discussed. Finally, there will be a discussion of the contributions of 
this study. 



144 

Discussion of Findings 
Research Question 1 

1 . 1 How and to what degree are teachers using school gardens? 

To determine how and to what degree teachers are using school gardens, 
teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire addressing several indicators thought 
to contribute to the intensity of a school garden program (Table 3-3). Teachers' 
responses to this questionnaire revealed that there were indeed varying degrees of 
garden use, both with students and in the curriculum. 

About half of the teachers and their students used the garden only one hour a 
week (Table 4-1). The other half of the teachers and students used the garden from 2 
to 15 hours a week. In addition to time spent in the garden, a little over half of the 
teachers surveyed only incorporated the garden into their curriculum 1 0% or less of 
the time (Table 4-2). 

All teachers were using the garden to teach science (Table 4-3). Almost half 
of the teachers indicated that the garden helped address 26 to 46 (out of 46 possible) 
science Sunshine State Standards. Many of these standards address concepts cited by 
educators that could be met through the use of the garden: problem solving, observing 
and predicting skills, life cycles, habitats, weather, and plants (Gywnn, 1988; Nelson, 
1988; Oehring, 1993; Stetson, 1991). This finding supports educators' assertion that 
gardens assist in academic learning. 

A majority of the teachers were also using the garden to teach math (92.9%) 
and environmental education (67.9%, Table 4-3). Environmental education has been 
found to be a common subject addressed through the use of the garden (DeMarco, 



145 

1999; Sheffield, 1992; Skelly &. Bradley, 2000). Teachers also were using the garden 
to help teach language arts (64.3%), health and nutrition (64.3%), ethics 
(responsibility and nurturing) (57.1%), social studies (32.1%), history (21.4%o), music 
(21.4%), and physical education (14.3%, Table 4-3). These percentages indicate that 
Hemenway's (1903) argument that a garden can be used to teach practically every 
subject taught in the classroom is supported. The findings of Wotowiec (1975) that 
students and parents did not believe that the garden program being used by Cleveland 
Public Schools promoted practical application of academic skills and knowledge is 
sharply contrasted by this study's and others (DeMarco, 1999; Sheffield, 1992; Skelly 
& Bradley, 2000) that teachers are using a school garden to teach essentially every 
classroom subject. 

Most gardens being used by teachers had been a part of their curriculum from 
1 to 3 years (Table 4-4). Two-thirds of the gardens in use were 150ft^ or less in size. 
The most common type of garden set-up used by teachers was a classroom garden. A 
few teachers were using large group (6-10 students) and small group (2-5 students) 
gardens. A majority of the teachers did indicate that they put their students in 
teams/groups to work on garden-related assignments/activities. When asked how 
their students utilized the end product of their garden, most reported that their 
students observed the end product. Sharing, eating, and recording were mentioned by 
over half of the teachers as ways of using the end product. Donating and displaying 
the end product were two other ways of utilizing the garden by a few teachers. 
Sharing and donating products of the garden with others is thought by several 



146 

educators (Barron, 1993; Canaris, 1995) to foster a sense of community 
connectedness. 

DeMarco (1999) found that adequate volunteer help is one of the most 
important factors, cited by teachers, for a successful garden. The form of volunteer 
help used by almost all teachers in this study came from parents (Table 4-5). A few 
were using agriculture education members or older students at their school. Teachers 
in DeMarco 's study also reported that parents and older students were the most 
accessible and engaged sources of volunteer help. A majority of teachers in this 
study were utilizing only two to three forms of help. Very few teachers received help 
from Master Gardeners, garden club members, senior citizens, members of 4-H, or 
high school and university students (Table 4-5). 

Personal knowledge was cited by all but two teachers as the source of 
information for incorporating the garden into their curriculum (Table 4-6). This is 
congruent with DeMarco' s (1999) finding that teachers' own gardening knowledge is 
an important factor affecting the success of the garden. Friends and volunteers were 
sources of information for three-quarters of the teachers in this study. A third of the 
teachers were getting information from the County Extension office and education 
journals/publications. Less than half of the teachers surveyed used teacher in-service 
training, 4-H education materials, or the National Gardening Association's 
Growlab/Growing ideas newsletter as sources of information. None of the teachers 
received information from Lifelab or Master Gardener Training. 

In relation to the sources of information, teachers were asked about the types 
of educational materials they used to support the use of the garden in their 



147 

curriculum. Overwhelmingly, most used library books and/or garden magazines or 
catalogs (Table 4-7). Half of the teachers were using personal books, trade books, 
textbooks, experiments and/or videos as educational materials. A few used 
newspapers, computer software, and/or filmstrips. 

These findings indicate that, while teachers are using gardens and 
incorporating them into their classrooms, most are doing so with few sources of 
information and very little help fi:om others. This lack of information and help may 
be due to teachers' insufficient knowledge of where to find information and who or 
what groups to look to for help. A great deal of information exists for teachers 
wishing to use school gardens both at a local level (e.g. County extension office) as 
well as at a national level (e.g. National Gardening Association's Growing Ideas 
newsletter). Teachers may be unaware of these sources of information and therefore 
not using them. Alexander et al. (1995) and DeMarco (1999) reported that teachers 
found Master Gardeners to be extremely helpful both in horticultural/gardening 
knowledge, but also in helping to reduce the teacher to student ratio. However, few 
teachers in this study were using Master Gardeners to help in their gardens. Other 
organizations such as garden clubs and 4-H are also useful in helping teachers and 
students in their gardens, but are under utilized. 

From this information gathered from teachers, it is very apparent that teachers 
using school gardens do so in very different ways. While there are common elements 
found among teachers using gardens, the practice is very diverse. One of the goals of 
this study was to ascertain if diversity existed and if so, how could such diversity be 
classified in a way that would allow for a comparison of garden benefits to students. 



148 

One method thought to aid in the classification of school gardens was to determine 
the intensity of a school garden program. 

12 What factors contribute to the intensity of a school garden program? 

All of the factors addressed in research question 1.1 were thought to be 
possible contributors to the intensity of a school garden program. Of these, only one 
was used to calculate the intensity of a school garden program, the number of garden- 
related activities students participated in prior to and while in the garden. This 
indicator of intensity was chosen for several reasons: (a) it was based in theory, that 
is, Bronfenbrenner's (1979) theory of the proximal processes of development stating 
that activity must take place for development to occur and this activity must take 
place over time and become increasingly more complex, and (b) analyses showed this 
factor to explain the most amount of variation in scores. 

Activities students participated in before gardening included: preparing, 
planning, choosing plants, and designing the garden. Activities students participated 
in while in the garden included observing, planting, weeding, watering, fertilizing, 
harvesting, experimenting, recording, sitting, and playing. A total of fourteen 
activities were possible. Analysis of the data indicated three levels of intensity: low 
(0 to 8 activities), medium (9 to 1 1 activities), and high (12 to 14 activities). 

1 .3 Do school gardens vary in intensity and form? 
School garden intensity as determined by the number of garden-related 
activities students participate in prior to and while in the garden was found to vary 



149 

among schools. Teachers were also asked to disclose the form of garden they and 
their students were using. The three forms being utilized by teachers were flower 
gardens, vegetable gardens, or a combination of flower and vegetable gardens. 
Garden intensity and form were combined to create a nine-cell typology that 
classified gardens by intensity and form. Each cell of the typology constituted a 
conceptual type of gardens: (a) low-intensity vegetable garden, (b) low-intensity 
flower garden, (c) low-intensity combination garden, (d) medium-intensity vegetable 
garden, (e) medium-intensity flower garden, (f) medium-intensity combination 
garden, (g) high-intensity vegetable garden, (h) high-intensity flower garden, and (i) 
high-intensity combination garden. Each of these types of gardens was represented 
by at least one class participating in this study, indicating a variation of school 
gardens by intensity and form. These nine types served as the basis of analysis for 
exploring the impact of school gardens on elements of positive youth development. 
Once the typology had been constructed using the number of garden-related 
activities and garden form, the mean scores for all other possible indicators of 
intensity were examined for each of the garden types in the typology. Although 
intensity was based on the number of garden-related activities students participated 
in, high intensity combination gardens had the highest means for every other indicator 
except for the number of hours students spent in the garden. Students in medium 
intensity flower gardens spent the most hours in the garden. While it was thought 
that these factors might offer some explanation as to the differences in garden type 
and students' sense of responsibility and attitudes toward science, the environment, 
and the garden, no other trend was apparent. 



150 

Research Question 2 

2.1 Do students using school gardens possess the youth developmental 
assets of achievement motivation, school engagement, responsibility, 
and interpersonal competence? 

2.2 Do students possess the youth developmental assets of achievement 
motivation, school engagement, responsibility, and interpersonal 
competence in varying degrees depending on school garden type? 

Hypothesis; There is a positive relationship between the number of youth 

developmental assets students' possess and school garden type. 

While this study intended to examine the youth developmental assets of 
achievement motivation, school engagement, responsibility, and interpersonal 
competence, due to measurement issues, only the asset of responsibility was 
examined. The mean responsibility score for each type of garden ranged from 4.33 to 
4.61 (out of a high score of 5). These high scores indicate that all students, regardless 
of garden type, possessed the asset of responsibility. With scores ranging so high, 
very little variation existed and therefore no significant differences among garden 
types were found. The hypothesis that there is a positive relationship between the 
number of youth developmental assets (responsibility) students' possess and school 
garden type was rej ected. 

This finding that students in all types of gardens possess a sense of 
responsibility does concur with educators' contention that the garden gives students a 
sense of responsibility (Canaris, 1995; Gwynn, 1988, Montessori, 1912). This may 
be due to teachers using the garden to teach responsibility. Approximately half 



151 

(57.1%) of the teachers in this study were using the garden to help teach ethics - 
responsibiUty and nurturing. However, until a comparative study of gardening 
students and non-gardening students is conducted, it is cautioned against inferring 
that the school garden is the reason for students' high sense of responsibility. 

Since the indices measuring achievement motivation, school engagement, and 
interpersonal competence were unreliable, it is unknown how gardens may have 
impacted these variables. Previous studies, however, have found no significant 
differences in self-esteem, attitudes toward school (Sheffield, 1992; Waliczek, 1997), 
and interpersonal relationships (Waliczek, 1997) of students in gardening programs 
versus non-gardening programs. 

Research Question 3 

3.1 In what ways do students' attitudes toward science differ depending on 
school garden type? 

3.2 In what ways do students' attitudes toward science differ based on a 
variety of person and social context variables? 

Hypothesis: There is a positive relationship between students' attitudes 
toward science and school garden type. 

Hypothesis; Students' attitudes toward science do not differ by gender in the 
third grade. 

In a study carried out by Skelly and Bradley (2000), researchers found that 
most elementary teachers in Florida were using school gardens to teach science. 
Yager and McCormack (1989) posited that science education should begin with 



i '''. '' ^ 



152 

applications and connections to the real world. Understanding how science relates to 
the real world helps students realize the need to study the processes and information 
that pertain to science. Additionally, several researchers contend that if students are 
to become interested in science and to continue taking more science courses, they 
must have positive attitudes toward science and these attitudes should be in place at 
an early age (Catsambis, 1995; Farenga & Joyce, 1997; Simpson & Oliver, 1990; 
Yager & McCormack, 1985; Yager & Yager, 1989). Farenga and Joyce (1997) 
suggest several ways science can be taught in a maimer that stimulates interest and to 
promote positive science attitudes: teach out of the classroom, in an informal maimer, 
and through hands-on and inquiry-based activities. Each of these methods of 
teaching science can, in theory, be achieved with school gardens. Therefore, the 
science attitudes of students participating in school gardens were examined. 

Factor analysis of the data indicated two measures of science attitudes: 
attitudes toward science (science is fiin, exciting, boring, likeable) and attitudes 
toward the usefulness of science study (learning, using, testing). Attitudes toward 
science were examined first. The ANCOVA analysis indicated that there were 
significant differences among students' attitudes toward science depending on the 
type of garden in which they participated. Students with the most positive attitudes 
toward science participated in medium intensity vegetable gardens. Students in low 
intensity flower gardens and medium intensity combination gardens also had positive 
attitudes toward science. Overall, students in all types of gardens had positive 
attitudes toward science. Yager and Yager's (1985) study showing that more than 
half the third grade students in their study reported their science classes as exciting, 



153 

fiin, and interesting supports this finding. No discemable trend was present in 
relation to the type of school gardens students participated in and their attitudes 
toward science. 

With regard to how students' science attitudes differed based on their gender 
and ethnicity, the type of garden students participated in was the best predictor of 
their attitudes. Alone, gender and ethnicity did not significantly explain the variation 
in attitude scores. Further analysis of the data did, however, indicate a significant 
interaction between garden type and gender. Males in all but two of the garden types 
had higher science attitude scores than females. This is consistent with research 
findings that males typically have more positive science attitudes than females 
(American Association of University Women [AAUW], 1992; Farenga & Joyce, 
1998; Linn & Hyde, 1989; Oakes, 1990). Females with the most positive attitudes 
toward science participated in medium intensity vegetable gardens, high and low 
intensity flower gardens, and medium intensity combination gardens. Again, no 
noticeable trend was present concerning the variables of garden type and gender as 
they pertain to science attitudes. 

The second measure of science attitudes investigated students' attitudes 
toward the usefiihiess of science study. The analysis of covariance tests showed a 
significant difference among the types of school gardens and students' attitudes. 
Once again, students in the medium-intensity vegetable garden had the most positive 
attitudes toward the usefulness of science study. Students in low- and medium- 
intensity had the next highest scores measuring attitude. There was no apparent trend 
in students' attitudes and garden type. One interesting finding, however, was that, in 



c;v^ 



154 

general, students' attitudes toward the usefulness of science study were less positive 
than their attitudes toward science. Yager and Yager (1 985) suggest that the school 
imparts the perception of the usefulness of science study. Perhaps, teachers are 
imparting this perception to students in varying degrees, thus accounting for the lower 
scores of this attitude measure. 

The person variables of gender and ethnicity were not significant in 
explaining the variation among usefulness scores, however the interaction between 
garden type and gender was again significant. Scores for this measure were not as 
divergent for male and females as they were with students' attitudes toward science. 
Females and males in medium intensity vegetable gardens had the most positive 
attitudes toward the usefulness of science study. One interesting trend observed was 
that females in high intensity flower and combination gardens had the most positive 
attitudes, while males in low intensity flower and combination garden had the most 
positive attitudes. No other trend was observed with regard to garden type and 
typology. 

The hypothesis that there is a positive relationship among students' attitudes 
toward science and the usefulness of science study and school garden type was 
rejected as this trend was not observed. The hypothesis that students' attitudes 
toward science and usefuhiess of science study differ based on a variety of person and 
social context variables were accepted since differences in gender were observed. A 
plausible reason for the significant differences in science attitude scores and garden 
type is that, according to Simpson and Oliver (1 980), the school, and more 
specifically, the classroom, has the strongest influence on students' attitudes toward 



155 
science. Teaching styles, classroom activities, and school/class environment may all 
contribute to these differences among garden types. Additional information about the 
school and classroom is needed to further explain the observed variation. While there 
was significant variation among students' attitudes toward science and the usefulness 
of science study and the type of garden in which they participated, it should be noted 
that students in all types of gardens had relatively positive attitudes toward science 
and its study. Positive science attitudes play a crucial role in determining whether 
students pursue future courses and interests in science. Simpson and Oliver (1980) 
found that if students enter middle or intermediate school with positive attitudes 
toward science they are more likely to continue taking science courses and be 
successful in these courses. School gardens can be places where science is made fun 
and interesting. School gardens are also places where inquiry-based learning can take 
place, learning is achieved through in an informal manner, and where science can be 
taught outside of the classroom. These are all suggestions for ways to teach science 
so that it stimulates interest and promotes positive science attitudes (Farenga & Joyce, 
1997). . 

Research Question 4 

4. 1 In what ways do students' attitudes toward the environment differ 
depending on school garden type? 

4.2 In what ways do students' attitudes toward the environment differ 
based on a variety of person and social context variables? 

Hypothesis: There is a positive relationship between students' attitudes 
toward the environment and school garden type. 



156 

Hypothesis; Students' attitudes toward the environment do not differ by 

gender in the third grade. 

The environmental attitude questions that were found to be reliable measured 
students' attitudes toward caring for the environment and recycling. The ANCOVA 
analysis revealed no significant differences among garden type and students' attitudes 
toward the environment. The reason for this finding is that students' attitudes were 
all very positive regarding the environment. Students' mean scores in all garden 
types ranged from 4.67 to 4.88 (out of a high score of 5), showing very little variation 
in scores. This finding is consistent with previous studies, which showed that school 
gardens can promote positive environmental attitudes in students that participate in 
the gardens (Skelly, 1997; Waliczek, 1997). The ability of school gardens to promote 
positive environmental attitudes in students may be due to the fact that a large 
majority of the teachers (67.9%) used their gardens to teach environmental education. 
Research has found that environmental education programs promote positive 
environmental attitudes in students (Bradley et al., 1997; Bryant & Hungerford, 1977; 
Dresner & Gill, 1994; Jaus, 1982, 1984; Ramsey & Rickson, 1976). Jaus (1984) 
found that programs with only two hours of instruction were effective in developing 
positive environmental attitudes in third grade students. 

Since there were no significant differences found among the type of garden 
students participated in and their environmental attitudes, the hypothesis that there is 
a positive relationship among students' attitudes toward the environment and school 
garden type was rejected. On the other hand, the hypothesis that students' attitudes 
toward the environment do not differ by gender in the third grade was accepted. 



157 

Although there were no significant differences in students' environmental attitudes 
and garden type, the finding that all students had positive attitudes supports 
educators' claims that school gardens are ideal places to teach and foster 
environmental awareness (Canaris, 1995; Chawla, 1994; Gwynn, 1988; Pivnick, 
1994; Stetson, 1991). 

Research Question 5 

5.1 In what ways do students' attitudes toward school gardens differ 
depending on school garden type? 

Another goal of this research study was to find out how students participating 
in school gardens felt about school gardens. Student responses to five questions 
measuring students' attitudes toward the garden (whether students the garden helped 
them learn new things, made them want to learn more, made learning fun, as well as 
being fun and exciting) were examined. Analysis indicated that students' attitudes 
did differ significantly depending on garden type. Scores ranged from 2.80 to 4.57 
(out of a high score of 5). Students with the most positive garden attitudes 
participated in high-intensity flower and combination gardens, as well as medium- 
intensity vegetable gardens. The lowest attitudes toward the garden were for students 
participating in high- intensity vegetable gardens. It should be noted, however, that 
students in the high-intensity vegetable garden were from one class and their 
particular garden experiences may have negatively influenced their garden attitudes. 
Based on the observed trend that as intensity increased, students' garden attitudes 
increased (became more positive), it is unlikely that this one class is representative of 
the high-intensity vegetable garden experience. This trend indicates that the number 



158 

of garden-related activities students participated in prior to and while in the garden 
positively influenced their attitudes toward the garden. 

Educators as well as researchers have cited enjoyment of the garden as an 
outcome of school gardening programs. How much students enjoy the garden is 
usually one of the first benefits mentioned by educators (Canaris, 1995; Gwynn, 
1988; Stetson, 1991). Other benefits discussed by teachers are how the garden makes 
learning fun (Stetson, 1991) and exciting (Gwynn, 1988). Inspection of student 
responses to the garden attitude questions reveals that these benefits are tangible. 
Almost all of the students (83%) feh working in the garden was fim always or most of 
the time. Approximately three-quarters of the students reported that working in the 
garden was exciting (77.5%) and that the garden made learning fiin (76.9%). 
Researchers (Barker, 1992; Kononshima, 1995) have also found that students in their 
studies liked and enjoyed working in the garden. 

Analysis of the data also showed that gender significantly explained the 
variation in garden attitude scores. Females had significantly higher scores than 
males, indicating that females' attitudes toward the garden were more positive. 
Ethnicity also significantly explained variation in students' attitudes toward the 
garden. Non-white students scored higher than white students, suggesting that non- 
white students had a more positive attitude toward the garden. The interactions 
among garden type and gender and garden type and ethnicity did not significantly 
explain the variation in scores. 






> ,-,■, -*. 



159 

In summary, examination of the teacher data shows that teachers were using 
gardens differently and to varying degrees. These differences were found among 
gardens at different schools, but also among gardens at the same school. 
Investigation of student data showed that students in all types of gardens had high 
responsibility scores, indicating that students in all types of gardens possessed the 
youth developmental asset of responsibility. Similarly, students' environmental 
attitudes were all high, indicating that students in all types of gardens had positive 
environmental attitudes. Significant differences were found among garden type and 
students' attitudes toward science, their attitudes toward the usefulness of science, 
and their attitudes toward the garden. In general, while there were significant 
differences among garden type and these attitudes, most students' attitudes were 
positive. These findings indicate that variation among school gardens do exist and 
need to be identified before comparative studies of garden programs and non-garden 
programs commenced. 

Although trends indicating that students' sense of responsibility and attitudes 
toward science, the environment, and the garden differed due to garden type were 
absent, several significant differences among garden types and attitudes were 
observed. This study was founded in the predominant theories of cognitive, social 
cognitive, and ecological development. The key concepts of these theories call for an 
examination of the school garden as a place for social interaction, as an environment, 
and as a microsystem environment where development may occur. To explore the 
garden in these ways, numerous questions were asked about the garden and its place 
in classroom curriculum. Teachers in this study reported that the garden was indeed a 



. ■. 160 

place for social interaction among the students, their teachers, peers, parents and other 
adults. Additionally, teachers revealed that the garden was an environment in which 
students learned, interacted with others, and had and shared hands-on experiences. 
The processes that occur within this environment are important according to 
ecological theory (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998). Proximal processes are 
necessary for development to occur. Analyses of the data collected from teachers and 
students showed that these necessary components of development varied along with 
school garden type. However, classroom data as it pertained to the garden experience 
was all that was collected and therefore it is impossible to know what other factors 
may have contributed to the observed differences. Additional information about 
classroom practices, teaching styles, and other outside influences is needed to more 
fully understand the influence of the garden on students. 

Limitations of the Study 

The limitations of this study deal with the participant group. The group of 
teachers and students that participated in this study was purposively selected. Only 
teachers participating in the Florida School Garden Competition or Project SOAR 
were asked to participate. Therefore, the results of this study can only be generalized 
to these teachers and students and not to teachers and students throughout the world. 
Additionally, the analyses of this study were limited by the small number of teachers 
participating (N=28). Although 448 students participated, the true N for this study 
was the number of teachers, or more specifically the number of classes composing 
each type of garden. In some cases, a few types of gardens were represented by only 



161 

one class of students, therefore not providing a true representation of that garden type. 
More classes using school gardens need to be studied so that the results become more 
generalizable. The measurement tools used also limited this study. Only one of the 
four assets under investigation was examined due to an inadequate index. 
Additionally, the index measuring environmental attitudes was limiting in regards to 
the type of environmental attitudes measured. Additional information was needed 
regarding educators' teaching styles, classroom practices, and attitudes to determine 
the role of the garden on the dependent variables. Regardless of the limitations, this 
study was exploratory and provided some important results. To date, this study is the 
only study that examines a school garden within the theoretical framework of 
cognitive, social cognitive, and ecological development theories. 

Implications 

Three types of implications of this study are discussed in the following 
section: (a) implications for theory, (b) implications for future research, and (c) 
implications for practice. 

Implications for Theory 

This research began with the idea that the cognitive theory of Piaget (Good & 
Brophy, 1995; Meece, 1997; Woolfork, 1998), the social cognitive theories of 
Vygotsky (Gage & Berliner, 1988; Meece, 1997; Woolfork, 1998) and Bandura, 
(Bandura, 1986; Woolfork, 1986) and the ecological theory of human development 
(Bronfenbrenner, 1979, 1988, 1993; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998; Garbarino, 



162 

1982) were compatible. A combination of these theories provided the framework for 
examining elements of positive youth development in the context of a school garden 
program. A review of these theories, their key concepts, limitations, and 
compatibilities was presented in Chapter 1 . 

Implications related to cognitive theory 

This study revealed that teachers are indeed using the garden as an 
instructional tool in their classroom. Many of them are using the garden in ways that 
are based on constructivist, discovery, inquiry, and problem-solving teaching 
practices. These teaching methods are derived from Piaget's theory of cognitive 
development. Piaget contended that children cannot simply have information and 
knowledge transmitted to them; they must act on the information and manipulate it so 
that it makes sense to them (Meece, 1997). To allow for this active involvement, the 
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has prescribed 
guidelines calling for classrooms that "allow for problem solving, hands-on 
experimentation, concept development, logical reasoning, and authentic learning" 
(Meece, 1997, p. 1 1 7). Teachers, in this study, were using their gardens to teach a 
wide variety of subjects and address many of the science state standards. Inspection 
of the standards being addressed with the garden shows that teachers were using the 
garden in ways called for by the NAEYC. 

Implications related to sociocultural theory and social cognitive theory 

Vygotsky sociocultural theory and Bandura's theory of social cognitive 
development proved useful when developing the theoretical framework for this study. 



163 

The classroom, and more specifically, the garden are environments in which students 
interact with one another, their teacher, older students, parents, and other adults. 
According to social cognitive theory, these interactions play a central role in the 
development of children. Vygotsky's theory states that development occurs when 
children work collaboratively to solve problems. Analysis of the teacher data showed 
that the majority of teachers (67.9%) put their students in groups or teams to work on 
garden-related assignments. Additionally, interactions with adults can lead to 
scaffolding - leading children into more complex levels of thinking. Almost all of 
the teachers in this study (82.1%) had parents helping in the garden. Children's 
interactions with these adults could have influence on their development. 

As with Vygotsky's theory, Bandura believes that cognitive skills and 
structures are derived through social interactions. Bandura's theory of social 
cognitive development theory reasons that the interactions of students' behavior, 
personal factors, and their environment influence their development. These 
interactions are reasoned to be the basis for learning by observation, or vicarious 
learning (Bandura, 1986). By watching other students or adults, students must focus 
their attention, construct images, remember, analyze, and make decisions (Woolfork, 
1998). A garden is a place where students may observe their peers, teacher, or adults 
that help in their garden. 

Implications related to ecological theory 

The finding that variation existed among users of school gardens can be linked 
back to Bronfenbrenner's ecological model of human development (Figure 1-2). 
According to this model, the school is a microsystem environment that has significant 



164 

impact on a child's development. The classroom environment, where a student 
spends approximately eight hours a day, and the garden as an element of that 
environment influence, students' development because this system requires the 
students' first-hand participation and interaction. 

The garden as an extension of the classroom environment can provide the 
settings for the activities required for development. The intensity of a school garden 
was based on the number of activities students participate in prior to and while in the 
garden. If these activities occur, take place on a regular basis over an extended period 
of time, become increasingly more complex, and require a degree of reciprocity, then 
development will occur. Based on teacher data, it is evident that activity in the 
garden was occurring, albeit at varying degrees. Additionally, analysis showed that 
the number of activities students participated in best explained the variation in 
students' attitudes toward science and usefulness of science scores, as well as their 
garden attitude scores. This demonstrates the usefulness of ecological theory for 
conceptualizing research theory and design. 

Implications for experiential learning theory 

Teachers in previous studies have indicated that they use school gardens to 
promote experiential learning (DeMarco, 1999; Skelly & Bradley, 2000). This is 
most likely due to the ability of a garden to lend itself to experiences that can be 
drawn, articulated, and acted on. Stone (1994) states that these types of experiences 
allow development to occur. 

Although teachers use the garden for experiential learning, because of the age 
group that participatied and their level of cognitive development, most students will 



f 1 ; ' ■ 



165 

experience stages 1 and 2 of Kolb's (1984) experiential learning model: (1) concrete 
and direct experience and (2) reflection and observation. The typological analysis 
indicates that all students are given the opportunity to reach stage 1 , although at 
varying degrees, however it is unknown how many of the students reach stage 2. 
Teachers are providing the environment for experiential learning to take place by 
providing students with direct and concrete experiences that puts the subject matter 
being taught in a "real-world" context. As was mentioned previously, students enjoy 
working and learning in the garden and so this context is stimulating and interesting 
to students, two additional traits of a successful experiential learning experience 
(Osborne, 1994). Reaching stage 2 typically requires the teachers' guidance, and for 
this study, it was unknown if such guidance took place. 

The conceptual foundation developed from these theories aided in the design 
of this study, strengthened the research, and aided in the understanding of research 
findings. The results of this research project based on this theoretical framework 
support the continued use of this theory combination in future research. 

Implications for Future Research 

The findings of this study have several implications for future research. 
Methodological issues as well as recommendations for additional studies are 
addressed. 

Methodological issues 

One of the primary goals of this study was to examine students' youth 
developmental assets and whether school gardens contributed to these assets. As of 



166 

yet, we do not have good reliable measures of some of the constructs, especially in 
regards to youth development. There are several factors that contribute to the 
difficulty in assessing youth development. Maturation is a problem that occurs 
during this time of rapid development. Additionally, children are influenced by many 
sources. We do know that the richness of the environment is important, however a 
one-time measure of this environment may not be adequate to assess the progressive 
complexity of environments. 

Due to an inadequate measurement index, only one of the four assets under 
investigation was examined. The index used to measure these assets was developed 
for adolescent students in 6'*' to 12"^ grade, therefore statements and responses from 
the index had to be altered to so that they could be used with third-grade students. 
This change in wording could have caused the statements to lose their meaning and 
not measure the concept they were purported to measure. Factor analysis of the asset 
scales showed that the statements did not measure the assets they were designed to 
measure. A more appropriate tool needs to be developed so that these assets can be 
studied with younger students without altering existing instruments. 

Similarly, an instrument measuring students' attitudes toward the environment 
needs to be developed. A commonly used instrument is the Children's 
Environmental Response Inventory (CERI, Bunting & Cousins, 1985), however it 
contains 1 85 statement, a number to high too be used in this study. For this reason, 
only a few questions were taken from the CERI. To accompany these questions were 
several that Jaus (1985) used successfully in a study with third-grade students. Factor 
analysis of this combined index indicated that only questions dealing with caring for 



167 

the environment could be used reliably. This limited what is known about students' 
environmental attitudes. While the CERl measures many dimensions of children's 
environmental attitudes and has an adequate reliability, a condensed version is needed 
if other variables besides environmental attitudes are to be examined in a study. 

On the other hand, this study revealed the usefulness of the Attitudes, 
Preferences, and Understandings scale to measure student attitudes toward science as 
well as a scale to measure students' attitudes toward the garden. Questions 
comprising the science attitude scale produced an alpha reliability of 90, a mean of 
3.96, and a standard deviation of 1.04. The usefulness of science study scale had an 
alpha of .65, a mean of 3.76, and a standard deviation of .87. Five questions to 
measure students' attitudes toward the garden were constructed based on questions 
measuring science attitudes. This new garden scale had an alpha reliability of .92, a 
mean of 4.19, and a standard deviation of 1.01. Due to the high reliability of each 
scale, especially the garden attitude scale, these could be used in future research 
studies. 

Additional studies 

The first recommendation for additional studies is to replicate this study with 
similar and different groups of students. The qualitative and quantitative approach is 
also recommended as this combination provides more insight into the way a school 
garden is being used and how it may ultimately impact and benefit the students. 
Qualitative observational research of teachers using school gardens is suggested so 
that we learn more about the teaching styles, classroom environment, and teacher 
attitudes that may affect students' development. 



168 

A goal of this study was to determine if variation existed among the ways 
teachers and students used school gardens. To reach this goal, this study looked only 
at teachers using school gardens to gain an understanding of the within group 
variation. Now that it has been established that variation exists among users of 
school gardens, additional studies are recommended to study how school gardens 
benefit students in comparison with students not using school gardens. These studies, 
need to occur with the knowledge that variation among school garden users exists and 
should be accounted for when comparing users to non-users. With this understanding 
in place, researchers can gain a better understanding of the extent to which a school 
garden may influence and benefit students using such gardens. 

Another area for investigation includes looking at gardening programs as 
exemplary. Some school gardening programs may qualify as exemplary according to 
the National Science Teachers Association (see page 75 for a definition). In a study 
of exemplary science programs. Yager and Penick (1989) found that students 
perceived science as being fun, exciting, interesting, and less boring. Students in 
these programs also had more positive attitudes toward science and students' attitudes 
did not worsen over time (Simons & Yager, 1987; Yager, 1988, Yager & Penick, 
1989). Anexaminationof school gardens and school garden type as possible 
exemplary science programs is therefore warranted. 

More studies examining school gardens, with students in many grade levels 
also need to occur. This study focused only on third graders whose sense of 
responsibility may already have been in place, and whose attitudes toward science, 
the environment, and the garden may already have been positive. Students' attitudes 



169 

toward science have been reported to start out high in elementary school but 
gradually decline as they progress up the grades (Ayers & Price, 1975; Yager & 
Penick, 1989). Studies with older and younger students may provide a better 
understanding as to the role of the garden in influencing asset and attitude 
development. ■ 

One variable not examined in this study due to logistical and design 
constraints was students' science achievement scores. Since all the teachers in this 
study were using the garden to teach science, an investigation into how the garden 
influences achievement scores is warranted. This type of study would be best carried 
out using a quasi-experimental design with students participating in a school garden 
and students not participating in a school garden. Such a study could reveal if the 
garden as a teaching tool for science is effective. One other way of carrying out this 
study would be to obtain state mandated achievement test scores for students in 
gardening and non-gardening programs to explore differences. Since teachers are 
using the garden to teach to different science standards, a standard test of science 
achievement would allow for such measurement. 

Studies of school gardens should not be limited to science and environmental 
attitudes and knowledge gain. Future studies should explore all the potential benefits 
cited by educators using school gardens: development of skills such as sharing, 
teamwork, cooperation (In Virginia, 1992; Becker, 1995; Berghorn, 1988; Canaris, 
1995; Gwynn, 1988; Neer, 1990), patience (Craig, 1997; Pivnick, 1994), self-control, 
self-esteem (Craig, 1997), self-confidence (Chawla, 1994; Dwight, 1992), self- 
reliance (Henry & DeLauro, 1996), leadership, organization, planning (Berghorn, 



170 

1988), responsibility (Canaris, 1995; Gwynn, 1988), discipline for being on time, 
following directions, making decisions (Dwight, 1992), a work ethic (Braun, 1989; 
Canaris, 1995; Dwight, 1992), a respect of work (Becker, 1995), positive feelings 
toward school, a desire to participate in school activities (Lucas, 1995; Stetson, 1991), 
and community connectedness (Barron, 1993; Canaris, 1995). 

Each of these types of studies should also be carried out using pre- and 
posttest designs to obtain a measure of student variables before and after participating 
in a school garden program. Additionally, longitudinal studies of students who 
participate in school programs is needed to document possible long-term benefits. 
Longitudinal studies may also reveal if benefits derived from school gardening 
programs remain with the student or if they change over time. 

In conclusion, this study and theories on which it was based provide a 
rationale for carrying out further related research. Efforts should continue to explore 
the impact and benefits school gardens have on and provide to students. 

Implications for Practice 

The results of this study provide implications for practice by teachers using or 
wishing to use school gardens. Teachers should use school gardens to foster students' 
sense of responsibility. Students in all types of gardens had very high responsibility 
scores, indicating that they did indeed have a sense of responsibility. Teachers should 
allow students to participate in garden-related activities that advance this sense of 
responsibility. Some suggested activities include growing and nurturing a seed to a 
plant, watering plants, and tending to the garden as a whole. 



wi 



V ,V■v^ 



171 

School gardens should be used to assist in the teaching of science. The 
results of this study show that students participating in school gardens, in general, had 
positive attitudes toward science. Researchers claim that instilling positive attitudes 
toward science in children must start at a young age (Catsambis, 1995; Farenga & 
Joyce, 1998; Simpson & Oliver, 1990; Yager & McCormack, 1985; Yager & Yager, 
1 989). These researchers contend that possessing positive attitudes early on can 
improve students' interest in science and stimulate them to enroll in more science 
classes and even pursue a science-related career. School gardens provide a place 
where science can be taught informally and through hands-on and inquiry-based 
activities, two suggestions made by Farenga and Joyce (1998) as ways of stimulating 
interest in and promoting positive attitudes toward science. Programs that stimulate 
curiosity, creativity, and show connections to the real world have been shown to 
promote and perpetuate positive attitudes toward science (Yager & McCormack, 
1989; Yager & Penick, 1989). School garden programs have the potential to 
accomplish these tasks. 

Teachers should use school gardens to teach environmental education and 
encourage positive environmental attitudes. Knowledge of and positive attitudes 
toward the environment are necessary keys for making informed decisions about 
environmental issues (Ramsey & Rickson, 1 976) and for carrying out 
environmentally responsible behavior (Ramsey et al., 1992). This study revealed that 
students in all types of gardens had positive attitudes toward the environment. School 
gardens give students a chance to interact with the environment and nature, which 
may influence thek attitudes toward the environment positively. Additionally, school 



172 

gardens offer an ideal place to teach environmental education and to inform students 
about the environment and environmental issues. 

Teachers should considering using combination flower and vegetable gardens 
with their students. While science attitude scores and responsibility scores were not 
significantly higher for students in combination gardens versus flower and vegetable 
gardens, students' attitudes toward the garden were highest for those student in high 
intensity combination gardens. Combination gardens offer the best of both types of 
gardens; they provide the aesthetics of a flower garden and the science of a vegetable 
garden. Many different types of lessons can be addressed through a combination 
garden ranging from art and language art lessons to math and science lessons. The 
diversity of a combination garden provides many benefits to teachers and students 
through education, but also through enjoyment. However, while a combination 
garden is recommended, the attributes of flower and vegetable gardens alone should 
not be overlooked. Students in medium intensity vegetable gardens had the highest 
science attitude and usefulness of science study attitude scores. Since most teachers 
are using vegetable gardens to teach science, their efforts seem to be effective in 
promoting positive science attitudes. For the purposes of this study, garden types 
were condensed into three types: flower, vegetable, and combination. Many teachers 
are using flower gardens to attract butterflies. Butterfly gardens are very popular 
among Florida elementary school teachers (Skelly & Bradley, 2000) and would fall 
under the flower category for this study. Butterfly gardens provide aesthetics, but 
also help teach science as it relates to butterflies and their life cycle. In conclusion, 



173 

all garden types are effective in their own ways, but to bring the best of all types 
together, a combination garden is recommended. 

The initial phase of this research project was to determine how teachers are 
using school gardens. Results of this inquiry phase revealed that teacher in-service 
training and/or a school garden manual are needed. A training program and/or 
manual could provide teachers with many of the resources they seem to lack in regard 
to school gardens. One of the issues that could be covered in a training program or 
manual should be on volunteer help. Teachers do not appear to be getting the 
volunteer help they need in the garden or may be unaware of help that may be 
available to them. Most teachers were relying on help from parents and a few were 
getting help from agriculture education members or older students at their school. 
Very few teachers are using Master Gardener or garden club volunteers to help with 
their gardens. Efforts need to be taken to put teachers in touch with Master Gardener 
and garden club volunteers so that they may help teachers and students with their 
school gardens. These two groups of people are usually very knowledgeable about 
gardening and can assist teachers and students with problems they may be having in 
their gardens. Additionally, having more than one adult in the garden v^th students 
improves the student/teacher ratio, allowing all involved to gain a more from the 
garden experience. 

Another topic to cover should be where teachers can get information that can 
help them design, use, and integrate a school garden into their curriculum. There are 
many sources of information available to teachers regarding gardening in general, 
school gardening, and environmental education. Teachers seem to be relying on their 



174 

own knowledge to incorporate gardening into their curriculum. While this is a 
worthwhile practice, utilizing other sources of information can only enhance the 
garden program. In addition to a resource of sources of information, the training 
and/or manual could provide teachers with a list of the numerous educational 
materials available to teachers using school gardens. These sources of information 
and educational materials can only help improve the way teachers use school gardens 
and subsequently improve the impact they have on students. 

Ideally, an in-service training program along with a school garden manual 
would provide teachers with a plethora of information that will help them improve 
their school garden programs. While a manual may seem to suffice, a training 
program that brings in teachers from across the state or nation will allow for 
interaction and idea exchange among users of school gardens. This exchange of ideas 
can not only provide ideas on how to use the garden in the classroom and curriculum, 
but may also offer ways teachers can gain recognition and reward for their programs. 
DeMarco (1999) found that teachers in her study needed additional education to 
improve their use of school gardening. Teachers indicated that they were most 
interested in receiving this education through an in-service training course. Teachers 
felt the in-service education would best gained by a training session with a school 
gardening expert, through Master Gardener training, or by taking continuing 
education or graduate courses at a local institution of higher learning. Most teachers 
wanted information about how to use the school garden as an effective teaching 
strategy as well as how to incorporate the garden into the curriculum and 
environmental education. 



175 

Contributions of this Study 

This study made several theoretical and practical contributions to the body of 
knowledge related to school garden research. First, this study was founded on the 
dominant theories of cognitive, social cognitive, and ecological development. 
Relationships of these theories to each other and to their role in examining school 
garden programs as a vehicle for youth development were presented. These 
developmental theories, along with experiential learning theory provided a strong 
theoretical base from which to design and conduct a study of the role of school 
gardens in positive youth development. These theories and their combination provide 
a sound means on which to design and carry out future studies. 

This study was also the first to examine existing school gardens without using 
a curriculum or designed garden program as an experimental treatment. One 
objective of this study was to ascertain the effectiveness of school gardens as teachers 
are currently using them. A multi-level framework, or typology was constructed that 
allowed school gardens to be classified by their form (vegetable, flower, or 
combination vegetable/flower) and intensity, based on the number of activities 
students participated in prior to and while in the garden into nine types of school 
gardens. This allowed for ecological inquires such as by whom, for whom, how, and 
imder what conditions school gardens were being used. This framework provided the 
basis for analyzing the dependent variables of responsibility and student attitudes 
toward science, the usefulness of science, the environment, and the garden. The 
typology successfiilly explained variation in students' science and garden attitude 
scores as they related to garden type. Even though only a small amount of the 



176 

variance was explained, when examined in the larger scheme of the number of 
influences on youth development, this finding is significant. This framework or 
typology would be useful in future studies of school gardens. 

This study also marked the first time students' science attitudes were 
examined as they related to school gardens. Results from this study indicated that 
significant differences were present among different types of gardens. While no trend 
was evident as to which type of garden produced the most positive attitudes toward 
science, most students participating in this study had positive attitudes toward science 
and the usefulness of science study. Whether these attitudes are due to the garden 
program is unknown, but these findings provide a rationale for future studies. 

Perhaps the most significant finding of this study is that as school garden 
intensity increased, students' attitudes toward the garden became more positive. 
Many educators and researchers have championed school gardens as places that allow 
children to have fun and enjoy themselves while learning. On a scale of 1 - (low) to 
5 - (high), the mean garden attitude score for students in this study was 4.19 with a 
standard deviation of 1.01. This indicates that students were indeed enjoying the 
garden and that as they participated in more garden-related activities prior to and 
while in the garden, their attitudes toward the garden became more positive. This 
result is encouraging for teachers using school gardens as well as for teachers 
thinking of starting one. 



177 



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186 



APPENDIX A 



FLOWER SCALE USED IN STUDENT SURVEY 





Always Most of 

the time 




^ 



Half the Sometimes Never 

time 



187 



APPENDIX B 
SCALE RELIABILITY AND CORRELATION STATISTICS 

Table B-1. The factor analysis and comprising variables for the youth 
developmental asset - responsibility scale 

,. . V Factor 

Statement Score Eigenvalue 

I care how well I do in school. .656 1.789 

At school, I try as hard as I can to do my best work. .656 

I accept responsibility for my actions when I make a mistake .642 

or get in trouble. 

I do my best even when it is ajob I do not like to do. .628 

Explained variance - 45 Percent 



Table B-2. The correlation matrix of items in the youth developmental assets 
responsibility scale. 

Variable 12 3 4 

1 . I accept responsibility for my actions 1 .0 
when I make a mistake or get in 

trouble. 

2. I do my best even when it is ajob I do .297* 1 .0 
not like to do. 

3. I care how well I do in school. .195* .246* 1.0 

4. At school, I try as hard as I can to do .255* .257* .322* 1.0 
my best work. 

* = significant at p < .01 



188 



Table B-3. The factor analysis and comprising variables for the science attitudes 
scale 



Factor 

Statement Score E igenvalue 

I like science. 374 3~537 

Science time is fun. g4g 

Science time is exciting. gOQ 

Science makes me want to learn more. .758 

Science time is boring * ' 725 



Explained variance = 71 Percent 



Table B-4. The correlation matrix of items in the scienc e attitudes scale. 

Variable ~ 1 2 3 

1. Science time is fun. 



2. Science makes me want to learn more. 

3. I like science. 

4. Science time is exciting. 

5. Science time is boring. .563* .489* .588* .595* 10 



1.0 








.659* 


1.0 






.739* 


.645* 


1.0 




.677* 


.631* 


.727* 


1.0 


.563* 


.489* 


.588* 


.595* 



= significant at p < .01 



■ar 



189 



Table B-5. The factor analysis and comprising variables for the usefulness of 
science study scale. 

Factor 
Statement Score Eigenvalue 

My teachers wants me to ask questions when we do science. .682 2.296 

Science time teaches me skill to use outside of school. .581 

Being a scientist would be fun. .577 

Science helps me test ideas I have. .555 

Being a scientist that studies plants would be fun. .505 

Explained variance = 46 Percent 



Table B-6. The correlation matrix of items in the usefulness of sc ience study scale. 

Variable \ 2 3 4 5" 



1 . Science time helps me test ideas I have. 1 .0 

2. Science time teaches me skills to use .437** 1.0 
outside of school. 

3. My teacher wants me to ask questions .082 .080 1.0 
when we do science. 

4. Being a scientist would be fun. .431** .350** .108* 1.0 

5. Being a scientist that studies plants .477** .399** .008 .454** 1.0 
would be fun. 



** = significant at p < .01 
* = significant at p < .05 



190 



Table B-7. The factor analysis and comprising variables for the garden attitudes 
scale. 



Statement 



The garden makes learning fun. 

Working in the garden is exciting. 

Working in the garden makes me want to learn more. 

The garden helps me learn new things. 

Working in the garden is fian. 



Factor 
Score 



.900 
.893 
.880 
.854 
.844 



Eigenvalue 



3.822 



Explained variance = 76 Percent 



Table B-8. The correlation matrix of items in the garden attitudes scale. 



Variable 



1 



3 



Working in the garden is f\in. 



.0 



2. Working in the garden makes me want .700* 
to learn more. 

3. Working in the garden is exciting. .715* 

4. The garden makes learning fun. .667* 

5. The garden helps me learn new things. .606* 



1.0 



.719" 



.726" 



.693" 



1.0 



.686" 



1.0 



.752" 



1.0 



significant at p < .01 



191 



Table B-9. The factor analysis and comprising variables for the environmental 
attitudes scale. 



Factor 

Statement Score Eigenvalue 

I think people must take care of the environment. '_ .725 1.894 

I think people should try to recycle. .704 

I think people should take care of plants and animals. .68 1 

I think newspapers should be recycled. .619 

Explained variance = 47 Percent 



Table B-10. The correlation matrix of items in the environmental att itudes scale. 

Variable \ 2 3 4 



1 . 1 think people should take care of 1 .0 
plants and animals. 

2. I think people should try to recycle. .28 1 * 1.0 

3. I think newspapers should be recycled. .219* .381* 1.0 

4. 1 think people must take care of the .315* .323* .309* 1.0 
environment. 



significant at p < .01 



192 



APPENDIX C 
SAMPLE PARENTAL CONSENT LETTER 



193 



Dear Parent/Guardian, 

I am a graduate student in the Department of Environmental Horticulture at the 
University of Florida, conducting research, under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer C. 
Bradley, on the possible benefits of school gardens to students. The purpose of this study 
is to examine the effect of school garden programs on the youth developmental assets of 
achievement motivation, school engagement, responsibility, interpersonal competence, 
attitudes towards science, and environmental attitudes of participating students. The 
results of the study may help determine if and how school garden programs are beneficial 
to students. These results may not directly help your child today, but may benefit future 
students. 

Your child's teacher will give a survey, to students during the school day. The 
survey should take approximately 30 minutes to complete and will take place the first 
week of April. With your permission, your student will take the survey during this time. 
Students will be instructed to answer the survey questions, but they will not have to 
answer any question they do not wish to answer. The survey will be accessible only to 
the research team for verification purposes. Although the students will be asked to write 
their names on the questionnaires for matching purposes, their identity will be kept 
confidential to the extent provided by law. We will replace their names with code 
numbers. Results will only be reported in the form of group data. Participation or non- 
participation in this study will not affect the children's grades or placement in any 
programs. Any child without permission to participate will take the survey along with 
the other students, but the teacher will not return their survey to the researchers. 

You and your child have the right to withdraw consent for your child's 
participation at any time without consequence. There are no known risks or immediate 
benefits to the participants. Students taking the survey will receive a packet of seeds as 
compensation for taking the survey. Group results of this study will be available in 
December upon request. If you have any questions about this research project, please 
contact me at (352) 392-7641 or my faculty advisor, Dr. Jennifer C. Bradley at (352) 392- 
7936. Quesfions or concerns about research participant's rights may be directed to the 
UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 1 12250, Gainesville, FL 3261 1, (352) 392- 
0433. 



Sonja Skelly 



I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily give my consent for my child, 

. , to participate in Sonja Skelly 's study of school garden 

benefits to students. I have received a copy of this description. 



Parent/Guardian Date 



iSd 



2"" Parent/Witness Date 



194 



APPENDIX D 
SAMPLE TEACHER INSTRUCTIONS 



195 



STUDENT SURVEY INSTRUCTIONS 
The survey should take approximately 30 minutes to administer. 

1 . Before passing out the student surveys, please read the following script to your 
students. This is to get assent from the students. Any student who doesn't raise 
their hand (not assenting to take the survey) does not have to take the survey. 

"Students, today a graduate student, Sonja Skelly, from the University of Florida 
has asked us to take a survey. The survey will ask you some questions about you and 
how you feel about school and our school garden. There are no right or wrong answers 
to these questions. This survey is about you and how you feel, so your answers may be 
different from other students in your class. That's OK, you don't have to have the same 
answers. You can stop at any time. You do not have to answer any questions you don't 
want to. Your participation or non-participation will not affect your grades. If you want to 
take the survey raise your hand." 

2. Pass out the student survey. 

3. Have students write their name, your name, and their grade. 

4. Have students write their birthday. This question presented some problems during 
the pilot test. We found that if we asked students to write their birthday, and gave 
them an example, such as April 16, 1990, they understood what to put down. Using 
birthdays is more accurate than asking students for their age. 

5. Go over the example on the second page. The amount of petals on the flower is 
designed to give students a visual picture of the responses. 

They can circle the word underneath the flower, just the flower, or both. What is 
most important is that they select the response that best describes them. 

6. Let students take the survey. 

**We found that it was better to let students read the questions on their own and 
answer accordingly. Let students know if they have a question to raise their hand and 
you will help explain the question. However, if you think it would be best to read each 
statement to the students please do so. Listed on the back page are some statements 
that were confusing to students in our pilot test. I have provided some examples to help 
you explain the statements to your students should the need arise. If you have a more 
appropriate example to help explain this statement or any other problem statement(s), 
please feel free to use your explanation. 

7. Collect surveys. Mail consent forms and completed teacher and student surveys in 
the enclosed envelope by April 14. 



THANK YOU!! 



196 



APPENDIX E 
SAMPLE PROBLEM QUESTIONS AND EXAMPLES 



SAMPLE RESPONSES 

Here are the statements that gave some students in the pilot test problems: 

#2 - I do my best even when it is a job I do not like to do. 

Example to give students: 

You do your best at cleaning up your room even when you don't really 

want to clean it. 

#25 - I think people should try to recycle. 

Example to give students: 

Define recycling - using something more than once, like making old soda 

cans into new soda cans. 

#27 - I think peofMe should stop air pollution. 

Define air pollution - air pollution is when people make the air dirty by 
putting bad stuff into it, like chemicals and smoke - they make the air dirty. 

#29-1 think people must take care of the environment. 

Define environment - the earth, nature, all the animals and trees, oceans, 
air. 

#30 - I think people should stop water pollution. 

Define water pollution - water pollution is when people put bad stuff into 
the water like chemicals or trash - they make the water dirty. 



197 



APPENDIX F 
CORRELATION STATISTICS OF TYPOLOGY FACTORS 



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200 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 

Sonja Marie Skelly was bom in Houston, Texas on April 16, 1971 . Sonja 
grew up the oldest of three children living in Seabrook, a small coastal town outside 
of Houston. Sonja's love of plants came from her grandparents who were avid 
gardeners. They taught her how to grow plants and appreciate nature. Sonja's 
parents instilled in her a desire to do well in school and always encouraged her to 
pursue her dreams. Sonja graduated from Clear Lake High School in 1989. 

After graduation, Sonja attended Texas A&M University, where she earned a 
Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology in August 1994. During her undergraduate 
career, Sonja began working for Dr. Gretchen Jones, a research scientist with the 
USDA. Dr. Jones encouraged Sonja to pursue her goal of going to graduate school. 
With her background in Anthropology and her desire to work with plants, Sonja was 
invited by Dr. Jayne Zajicek to enter graduate school in the Department of 
Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University. Dr. Zajicek was researching 
projects in the area of Human Issues in Horticulture and suggested that Sonja begin a 
research project in this area. Sonja chose to work with schoolteachers to research the 
effect of their gardens on the envirormiental attitudes of their students. Sonja 
received her master's degree from Texas A&M University in December 1997. 

In August 1997, Sonja began working with Dr. Jennifer C. Bradley at the 
University of Florida. She continued her research with school gardens to complete 



201 



her Ph.D. After graduating, Sonja plans to pursue a career in horticulture and to 
continue assessing the benefits of plants to people. 



I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to 
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

/jdnnifer MradTey, Ckair 
Assistant Professor of Horticultural 
Science 

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to 
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

J J £ ^^ 




ichael E. Kane 
Professor of Horticultural Science 




I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to 
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. r\ 

'J 

Steven G^^'Jacob 
Assistant Professor of Agricultural 
Education and Communication 

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to 
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 



0^-u-^f /) h^lw^^ 



Tracy S. Hoover 

Associate Professor of Agricultural 
Education and Commtmication 



I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to 
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

Theresa Ferrari 

Assistant Professor of Agricultural 
Education and Communication 



This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of 
Agriculture and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the 
requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 



December 2000 

Dean, College of Agriculturd^^dy^ife 
Sciences 




Dean, Graduate School 



Two Perm Plaza 

New York JVY 10121-2298 

Tel 212 904 2574 

Fax 212 904 6285 



TO: Sonja Skelly 

University of Florida 
1545W,M. FifleldHall 
P.O. Box 110670 
Gainesville, PL 3261 1-0670 



By: 



TheMcGrawHiU Companies 



Date: June 22, 2000 '"^oi^^^ ^'"^^^'- ^°^^^ 

Fee: $0.00 

The McGraw-Hill Companies material requested: 

Title: CHILD AND ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT FOR EDUCATORS, (1997) 

Author{s): Meece, J 

Specific material: Figure 1 .8 on page 29 and Table 3.3 on page 149, as outlined in your request dated May 1 1 , 2000, only. 

For inclusion in' 

Title: THE IMPACT OF SCHOOL GARDENS ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT.... 

Author(s): Skelly, S. 

Publisher: Skelly, S. 

Publication Date: 2000 

In response to your request of May 1 1 , 2000, this agreement, upon receipt by The McGrav\/-Hlll Companies from you of the 
specified fee together with your countersigned copy of this Agreement, shall constitute your pemnission to use the matenal cited 
above subject to the following conditions. This permission shall terminate: (a) if the conditions of this agreement are not met, or (b) 
if the proposed work is not published within two years of the date hereof or, if published, remains out of print for at least six months. 

1 . A signed copy of this agreement must be sent to The McGraw-Hill Companies, Permissions Department, Two Penn Plaza, 
NY, NY 10121-2298. 

2. No adaptations, deletions, or changes will be made in the material without the prior written consent of The McGraw-Hill 
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3. This permission is non-exclusive, non-transferrable, and limited to the use specified herein. The McGraw-Hill Companies 
expressly reserves all rights in this material. 

4. This permission applies, unless otherwise specified, solely to publication in the English language and to distribution in the 
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QfJx^do (?\0>jv\0uA^^ 



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Agreed and accepted by: 

Name and title: 

Publisher: 



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^ Form R 



PERMISSION TO QUOTE/REPRODUCE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 

,<■ 

I (We), /^L^iiPlA'^ f-'Ax) h U i<: A , owner(s) of the copyright of 

the work known as Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control hereby authorize 

Sonja Skelly to use the following material as part of her dissertation to be submitted to 

the University of Florida. 

Page Figure/Table to be Reproduced 

6 Figure 1.1 Triadic Reciprocal Determinism 

I (We) further extend this authorization to University Microfilms Inc., Ann Arbor, 
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y- 



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MM